The last post of the year should come from Bailey’s. End the year easy, as there is plenty to do next year. I try the Fifth Wheel, a Belgian dark strong and collaboration of 5 breweries: Widmer Brothers, Logsdon Farmhouse, Mazama, Sasquatch, and Solera.
Hint of sour cherry and chocolate in the nose give me a whole lot of hope; those flavors are in the finish too, reigning in any overpowering sweetness from the Belgian style, yet there’s still a bit of the yeasty note common to Belgians in general, at the veeeeery end.
It is a good beer but it falls short of outstanding. Too many cooks, perhaps? I’ve gotten a small glass of this and I’m glad I did. The cloying flavors play up as time passes and the balance provided by the cherry is lost pretty fast. This beer reminds me of the saying, ‘design needs a dictator’. I’m guessing here but I would say that the Fifth Wheel suffers as attempt to represent the five breweries, because any singular vision is lost leading to a less than memorable product. It isn’t bad-the skill involved prevents tragedy- but it isn’t what someone exited about such a collaboration would hope for, either.
I hope everyone has a happy New Year, and remember, if you’re in Portland, Tri-Met buses are free from 8PM on, so use them to travel safely! If you’re not in Portland, then be smart and safe. See you in 2014.