Schlafly The Eleventh Labor
Where in Town: D’Vines, 3103 14th St. NW
Price: $23.99/750 mL
Not Your Father(land)’s Beer
Last March, St. Louis-based Schlafly Beer released a French saison called Lazy Ballerina, the first in the “Ibex” series of more experimental, typically taproom-only beers. The second installment, The Eleventh Labor, arrived in D.C. this winter. The name is a broad reference to Hercules’ quest to steal golden apples from Zeus. Although the style, a Berliner Weisse, is traditionally served with a sweet syrup meant to balance out the beer’s tart flavor, Schlafly’s version relies on a purée of fresh apricots to achieve the same result. This alteration would surely be regarded as a sacrilege in Berlin’s tradition-obsessed beer halls, but it goes down mighty well stateside.
The apricots (62 pounds per barrel, to be exact) are immediately evident in the beer’s aroma, along with notes of citrus rind and doughy bread. Fruit also features prominently in the taste, which is bright and a bit salty. The style’s inherent acidity still shows through—despite the sweetness of the apricots—but isn’t overpowering. Light-bodied, effervescent, and only 4.2 percent alcohol, The Eleventh Labor is perhaps better suited to a warm summer night than ice and snow. But either way, it’s a delicious brew that’s well worth seeking out. I spotted it on draft at Meridian Pint last month, but kegs of this limited release are scarce. You’ll have better luck scoring a beautiful, wax-sealed bottle of this apricot ale at a specialty shop like D’Vines in Columbia Heights.
Photo by Tammy Tuck