Limited, uniquely produced stouts, ales, blondes and other artisanal beers are debuting aboard Crystal Cruises’ 2013 European cruises, with a new Connoisseur beer menu. Launching with up to a dozen craft brews from beer production countries such as Belgium, Austria, Germany, Holland and the U.K., the menu will change as Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity sail to other regions of the globe, with Samuel Adams Utopias expected to be available by the end of the year. Each beer will be presented in a glass that enhances the beverage’s flavors, as is done with wines and spirits.
Initial and planned beeroisseur offerings include:
· Samuel Adams Utopias (USA): With only a few thousand bottles produced annually, each crafted to mimic copper brew kettles, this is one of the strongest beers in history. Mixing caramel and Vienna malts with several types of yeast, including a variety found in champagne, the final result is like a sophisticated, sipping port – with a price tag of over $300 per bottle.
· Thornbridge Bracia (England): Made with seven malts, five hops and chestnut honey from the Alpine foothills of Northeast Italy, this dark ale pours jet black and tastes of chocolate, coffee, liquorice and hazelnuts all in one.
· Ola Dubh 12 (Scotland): Gaelic for “black oil,” this brew is aged in oak casks formerly used to mature Highland Park 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky. As a stylistic nod to classic Imperial Ports and Stouts of the nineteenth century, the aroma hints of smoky Worcestershire sauce, leather and grilled steak.
· Samichlaus (Austria): One of the rarest and strongest beers in the world (14 percent alcohol), Samichlaus (Swiss-German for “Santa Claus”) lager is brewed only once a year, right before Christmas. It spends 10 months aging before bottling and can be aged for several years, resulting in a sweet chocolatey, port-like flavor ideal for dessert pairing.
· Rochefort Trappistes 10 (Belgium): Considered the gold standard of taste among connoisseurs, Trappist beers are produced by only eight European monasteries. Rochefort’s Abbaye St-Remy has been using water from a monastery well to produce this strong brew since 1595.
Travelers who enjoy tastings and learning about the craft can look to beer pairing menus at intimate Vintage Room Dinners and a new microbrew-themed cruise sailing from New York to Miami for 14 days, starting Nov. 5, 2014.
For more information, visit www.crystalcruises.com.