Thursday, 21 January 2016

#304: Old and New

Pannepot is my kind of beer; as a bit of a simpleton, if it ain't hoppy then it may as well be thick, chewy and sweet. So when aged versions Pannepot Reserva 2010 and Grand Reserva 2010 are made available to me they seem destined to be hits.

Into the cupboard they went and having shown the respectful few weeks waiting, it was eventually time to break them out. Naturally the Reserva came first.

Much like the base Pannepot, the Reserva is a near-black, brown-tinted affair wearing a stout's cream head. Sheer notes of phwoar hit first on the nose; the complexity unfolds in waves revealing leather and oak first, then vanilla and tobacco leaf, then figs and raisins, then spiced marzipan. Not bad, to understate it grossly. The taste does this sort of backwards, in that it's much more orientated toward the almost-boozy rum-soaked dark fruit side of things, turning to demerara sugar and finally to slightly vinous, port-like wood and raisins. For all its 10% it drinks stupidly smooth and easy, and as much as I love it, I feel I'd be exaggerating if I said I noticed a marked improvement in this from layman's Pannepot.

I have a similar problem, if it could be called a problem, with Pannepot Grand Reserva, in that as beautiful as it turns out to be, I can't tell if it's any better for its apparent aggrandizement. Still, that's not really a worry for a seeker of delicious beer. Thankfully I do have some slightly different buzzwords with which to describe the beer so my integrity as a taster is intact. This one looks blacker than the other, and immediately smells surprisingly sweeter; dark, molasses-tinted toffee, raisins and Dutch pancake syrup (you know the one, not quite maple syrup and not quite golden syrup - candi syrup?) and blackcurrant jam. To taste it's yet another exclamation of success with woody maple syrup, chocolate raisins and chewy, slightly savoury malt and a touch of tawny port again forcing me to the conclusion that whatever De Struise do with Pannepot it kind of doesn't matter; you still get a winning beer.

Now, if one of those bizarrely specific principled criminals out there put a gun to my head and told to pick one from the three I'd go with the Reserve, as this one seemed at the time to have the most wonderfully complex mix of aroma and flavor. Of course, your mileage may vary.

Whatever the mileage, though, you should be heading in one direction: Pannepot.

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