Located in the small town of Kamperland in the south-western Dutch island province of Zeeland, the Bierbrouwerij Grand-Café Emelisse, or the Emelisse Brewery and Pub, is one of the more exciting craft breweries in a country well-known for excellent beer. Helmed by brewmaster Kees Bubberman—who in 2011 was awarded the Zilveren Knuppel (or "Silver Bat") by the Dutch craft beer enthusiast society PINT for contributions to his nation's beer culture—Emelisse started in 2005 with a focus on handcrafting beers from traditional recipes, but has lately been doing more experimenting with speciality beers, including taking classic styles from around the world and putting their own unique twists on them.
6.5 % ABV
Brewed with smoked malts from Bamberg, Germany, Emelisse's Rauchbier is a classic German Rauchbier with strong smoky flavors elegantly balanced in a very drinkable, crisp, and not overly heavy beer. The slightly hazy, golden, Arnold Palmer-like appearance sits under a fine carbonation that gives off an instantly recognizable meaty, smoky scent that's apparent, but not overpowering. This beer is a fantastic example of the classic German style.
7.5 % ABV
Another slightly hazy pour, the Double IPA had a deeper, amber/orange color than the Rauchbier, but exhibited similar fine carbonation. The clean nose had definite citrus and tropical hoppy notes that were somewhat undercut by sweet scents of rich caramel malts. This sweetness carried over to the taste, which made an interesting journey of starting sweet, then ending with classic hop bitterness.
10 % ABV
Pouring hazy like unfiltered cider with little carbonation, this rich and warming barley wine is a somewhat heavy (no surprise with its 10% ABV), but still clean and pleasant beer. The fruity and cider-like aroma matches the taste and is quite flavorful, but tempered by clearly perceptible malty notes for a robust yet refined mouthful.