Collaborations, we love 'em! When two great breweries get together for one great beer it can be a real treat. Reunion Ale has been a yearly collaboration spearheaded by Terrapin Brewing Company since 2009. Benefits from Reunion Ale: A Beer For Hope go to the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research.
For the past two years, Terrapin has collaborated with Shmaltz Brewing Company (they produce the Coney Island Craft Lagers line along with He'Brew: The Chosen Beer), with each brewery producing their own bottle of Reunion. We were lucky enough to snag Shmaltz's 2011 and 2012 versions of the beer. L'chaim!
7.3 % ABV
Brewed with coca nibs, vanilla and chili peppers, Reunion Ale '11 poured a rich, deep red with carbonation likening it to cola. When we saw cocoa nib we were thinking rich and sweet, but the cocoa added an almost heightened roasted malt flavor. This one tasted more sessionable than a 7% brew with the sweetness of the vanilla and chocolate being stronger on the nose than the flavor. We definitely picked up a little chili pepper on the finish which continued to build ever so slightly throughout the glass. As well balanced a chili pepper beer as we've ever seen.
8 % ABV
In 2012, Shmaltz and Terrapin swapped chili pepper for cinnamon. This brew poured a similar deep red with a very malty sweet nose and strong vanilla and chocolate notes. Upon first taste, we were wondering where the cinnamon was hiding, but after letting it warm up a bit, the cinnamon came out to play. The sweeter of the two, Reunion '12 has a very earthy characteristic. That being said, the highlight of this beer is definitely the sweetness: a thicker, maltier body lets the heavy vanilla and chocolate stand strong and balance off each other.
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