dsc02067This may be the first time I’ve ever ventured into Town Hall Brewery and been completely entranced by a beer not crafted by their own distinguished brewers.

At this evening’s First Tuesday Beer Club meeting, several of my friends commandeered a table on Town Hall’s patio overlooking the bustling traffic and noise of Seven Corners. It was a very nice evening, a gentle breeze the only reminder of the light rain that had quickly passed through parts of the city.

By the time I arrived, my friends had already lit into a sampler platter of Town Hall’s finest, including their Maibock, Golden Leaf Pale Ale, and ESB. But these beers weren’t the ones that caught my attention, fine and respectable in their own right as they were. After working my way through a couple Town Hall offerings, we ordered a glass of Hofstetten Granitbock, a very unique doppelbock from a tiny little brewery in Austria, and it completely caught me off guard in how original and delicious it was.

What really sets this beer apart is more the process in which they make it. During the boil, the brewers drop white-hot granite stones into the wort to help caramelize some of the sugars, an age-old Austrian tradition known as “stein bier” that dates back to the Middle Ages. From there, they ferment the beer in 200-year-old open stone troughs, resulting in a beer unlike most you’ve ever had before.

Poured with a very thin head and a beautiful rich chestnut coloring into a bowled glass. The aroma was distinctively mineraly, certainly leeched from the granite, with complex notes of sweet caramel and biscuit. Didn’t pick up much in the way of hops. The taste is that of toffee and dark fruits, very reminiscent of Chimay Red minus the yeast. You also pick up a little smoke in the background, again probably from the white-hot stones caramelizing the sugars in the wort. Despite the small head, the mouthfeel and carbonation levels were nice, giving this 7.3% ABV doppelbock a nice and creamy finish.

Stop into Town Hall and sample some before they run out.  

Rating: A-