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Melange A Trois - Reserve Series Aged In French Oak Chardonnay Barrels | Nebraska Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
101 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
101
Ratings:
360
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
17.66%
 
 
Wants:
103
Gots:
79
For Trade:
7
Melange A Trois - Reserve Series Aged In French Oak Chardonnay BarrelsMelange A Trois - Reserve Series Aged In French Oak Chardonnay Barrels
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Nebraska Brewing Company
Nebraska, United States | website

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our first beer in the Reserve Series, Melange A Trois begins with a wonderfully big Strong Belgian-Style Blonde Ale and moves into the extraordinary category through an additional 6 month French Oak Chardonnay Wine Barrel maturation. The essense of Chardonnay permeates while a subtle sweetness remains from the Ale itself. Oak tannins combine to create a fascinating mesh of dry, sweet, and wine-like character. One of our favorites!

Added by RedHaze on 11-16-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 101 | Ratings: 360
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As a pale Belgian, by far one of the best I have had.Lighter cloudy body, with a moderate head. Neutral aromas. Above average mouthfeel, very drinkable, and gentle masterful blend of the chardonnay barrelling taste and the Belgian blonde. A great and simple idea, well executed.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle pour at the bottle share held at Chloe's inside Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a hazy yellow with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is slightly sour and tart with malt, grain, earth, wine, wood, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with wine and earthy wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and prickly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a nice wine barrel aged presence all around.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is a huge beer, certainly all of the 10 percent abv its listed at, and can feel like a whole lot more in high doses. off blonde, more peach colored beer, with a ton of visible carbonation and just a bit of yeast floating about. tall white head slowly recedes. it smells like belgian yeast all the way, mildy spicy, extremely grassy, and with the acidity of the wine from the barrels its aged in. complex for sure, with notes of peppercorns and yellow corn on the front end, tough to nail down grain bill because of these unique flavors. then the yeast adds an orchard fruit element, maybe green pear, and a lot of carbonation keeps it light for how enormous it really is. a lot of beer in this bottle, with a fair bit of body too. this reminds me of something from ommegang or unibroue, a very authentic but also very creative take on belgian beer. some residual sugar, very fruity, in the finish, and one supremely interesting beer. everything ive had from nebraska brewing has been top notch, i had no idea such cool beer was coming out of there before these ones. close to 20 bucks a bottle in cost for this reserve series stuff, but its darn close to being worth it. these are one of a kind ales here.

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Photo of metter98
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is very hazy yellow in color and has a few yeast particles floating in suspension at the bottom of the glass. It poured with a half finger high bright white head that died down a bit but consistently left a thin head and lacing running down the sides of the glass.
S: There are aromas of chardonnay and oak from the barrel aging process.
T: Like the smell, the flavors of chardonnay wine are very apparent in the taste and particularly stand out and the tannins linger through the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very dry on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is packed with aromas and flavors of chardonnay but these don’t completely overpower the underlying beer. These really make the beer interesting to drink.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a lightly hazy golden color. It had a really nice looking fluffy white head on top. The retention was decent as well as the lacing. The smell was up oak with some citrus funk and a hint of malts. The taste of the beer was tart up front. The flavor was balanced though, it's moderately hoppy, tart and has just enough malt in there too. The mouthfeel is thin but not watered down. There is a crisp carbonation to the beer and very drinkable. Overall it's a very nice beer.

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Photo of brentk56
3.73/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy honey color with a massive head; both the retention and the lacing were impressive, as curtains of foam covered the side of the tulip

Smell: The most vinous beer I have ever smelled, with white grapes on the nose, fusel alcohol and hints of oak

Taste: Opens like a wine starting to go to vinegar, with white grape, starfruit and pear, up front; by mid-palate, the acidity takes over, bringing a layer of surprisingly tart vinosity that builds after the swallow, along with touches of oaky vanilla

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate to high carbonation; warmth in the gullet

Overall: Really wanted to like this beer more than I did but the combination of the tart fruit and the fusel alcohol did not work for me; impressed by the quality and inventiveness of the brewer and look forward to trying other beers from this brewery

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Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared at a recent DC tasting. Served in a SAVOR snifter.

Pour yields a bright golden brew with a nice white head and a bit of lacing as it goes down. The chardonnay aging is really apparent in the nose, with that grape varietal being the dominant characteristic. Behind that is a bit of oak and accompanying spice, plus a bit of light fruit. Taste is somewhat tannic and brings along mild spice, hints of oak, and a good chardonnay presence. Good feel; I really like what they did with the aging here. I wish there were a bit more of the base beer, but I really enjoyed this.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 release. Golden Delicious apple yellow with Champagnesque carbonation and a massive crown of pearl colored foam that is as Belgianesque as any America-brewed ale has a right to be. Outstanding and extensive lace puts the finishing touches on an appearance that is eye candy in the extreme.

The aroma is remarkable too. One sniff was all it took to identify each major part of this chardonnay barrel-aged BSPA. On second thought, the oak isn't very prominent, but the others work together like hand-in-glove. Very little appreciable alcohol is an excellent sign.

Who the bloody hell are these guys!?! Melange A Trois (the first salvo in the Barrel Aged Reserve Series) is the second gobsmacker of an ale that I've had from Nebraska Brewing Company. Assuming all of their offerings are this delicious, NBC can give America's best brewers of Belgian-style ales (see Allagash and Russian River) a serious run for their money. True story.

There is unquestionable quality in each and every mouthful. This now 9-month old brew has held up incredibly well and tastes and feels like it will be damn good for some time to come. Supreme job of bottle-conditioning... but we're not ready to talk about mouthfeel yet.

The base beer is an extraordinarily well-crafted Belgian strong pale that features perfect balance between golden orchard fruit (pears, apples) and clove spice. The Chardonnay grape vinousness, while not as prominent as it was in Hop God, is still an indispensible member of the flavor profile. Oak is in the background, but isn't really missed.

Subsequent pours recreate the impressive and imposing crown, while blanketing the sides of the glass with even more sticky lace. The mouthfeel makes drinking this amazing elixir a summer breeze. It's light-medium for the ABV and has the expansive creaminess and lightly sparkly bubbles that Belgian ales are known for. Brewed in Papillion, NE? Mind-boggling.

On the strength of two out-of-this-world ales, I'm ready to crown Nebraska Brewing Company the single best 'unknown to most BAs' brewery in the country. Melange A Trois is at least the equal of Hop God, and might even be better. Both are superlative drinkers and make me glad to live in a neighboring state. Now, about distribution one state to the east...

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

opened this one last night while watching harry potter with dylan. a bit much to finish on my own, but it was worth it as by the time it hit room temp it was divine.

deep hazy golden yellow color that was very evident right of the bat. Nice carbonation was easily apparent as champagne like bubbles reached skyward, constantly refreshing a large pillow of white on top. Very slow receded here left behind tons of thick and sticky side glass lace that really just coated the entire inside of the glass.

The aroma was light, airy and nice and hoppy with a great presence to it. Nice light pepper like notes that really punched through as it warmed, allowing that nice, light hoppy bite to really take hold. Some light bread like notes lying underneath o that. The flavor was very well done. Light, with most all of the alcohol very well hidden. It started with a nice lemon zest like hop bite that quickly melded into a spicy and peppery mix of yeast and spices. Some nice touches of light fruit and a really nice and mellow finish, left a clean, dry flavor in it.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours out a crystal clear, yellow-hued body with a foaming, tall, white head.

Smell: The chardonnay wine barrel treatment is simply bulging in the aroma, ahead of the lightly sweet-scented golden barley and hint of finely fragrant herbs and flowers giving a quality of hand-crafted artisan soaps, the kind people keep in an ornate bowl in the bathroom, are in small shapes, and you're not allowed to use.

Taste: A wonderful blend of sweet, soft as cream barley and a great chardonnay with a gentle oakiness. Floral accents, a hint of citric lemon vanilla creme, and some perfumy touches. A little, bright 'pop' of acidity. Light spiciness and some more oak showing on the wine spritzed finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Highly carbonated, very easy and breezy along the tongue.

Overall: The chardonnay character is pairing perfectly with the strong golden ale with just the right amount of carbonation. Hardly any showing of the supposed 10% alcohol. It's outstanding all around. I know it's early still, but can I go ahead and declare my favorite new beer of the year?

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Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour is a pale straw color with a soapy white head. Heavy on the lemon zest aromas with a touch of oak, coconut, and vanilla. The wine is there, too. Some sugar and fruit notes, though there is a bit of fake lemon character to the aroma, too. The flavor is a bit sweeter than expected, but nice. Sugar and bready malt to go with a fair amount of oak and barrel character. A subtle tartness and lemon peel flavor to it.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I shared this bottle on New Year's Eve, enjoyed chilled in a flute-type goblet

The color is a hazy looking golden with voluminous white head with lace that sticks to the glass. The smell has a lovely citrus and vinous character with aroma that has a hint of floral/honey-like ester perhaps from the chardonnay with slight tropical yeasty ester. The feel is very good, wonderful with light funk and smooth woody tannin and juicy sour tanginess with slight malt with combination of yeast spice and fruit quality.

The taste has a tangy tropical flavor with juicy pineapple-like semi-dry yet fruity with some barrel flavor with chardonnay adding a light sweet vinous element and gentle woody accent in the middle with slight spice from the yeast and low malt sweetness as it finishes mostly dry. Overall I think this is a great blend of mildly sour and wine-like flavor with tropical fruit from the yeast adding nice complexity.

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Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed apricot with 3 fingers of cream colored head. Great head retention & average lacing

S: Pears with a bit of phenol, some breadyness & dirt too

T: Green apple skins, pears, chardonnay notes & dryness all over this up front, some lemon & grapefruit bitterness as well. Honey & white grape mix with pink grapefruit as this warms, also some very faint juicy fruit. More juicy fruit, tartness, & much grapefruit in the finish

MF: Medium bodied, slightly carbonated, becomes fairly fluffy as this warms, nice balance

Pretty tasty, not as good as the Hop God of the same ilk, but way better than most of the Chardonnay aged beers I've tried, goes down very easy

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Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Belgian yeast. Tastes a lot like wine. Oak and tannins. Grapes. White wine. Champagne yeast. Green apples.

Very much like a wine or champagne. Solid offering.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cloudy light golden yellow in color with moderate amounts of yeast sediment in suspension. The beer has a half finger tall white head that reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of chardonnay and lighter amounts of sourness/funkiness. Very light hints of oak and vanilla.

T: There is a very light amount of pale malt body, sourness/funkiness, and yeast spices. There is a dominant presence of chardonnay and oak, almost buttery with lingering tannins.

M: Medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Extremely dry.

O: Very enjoyable and the brewer did a nice job of having the chardonnay and barrel complement and not overpower the flavors/aromas of the beer. A very nice sipping beer and one I would enjoy again.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 03/27/11 notes. Shared by Thorpe429; thanks Mike.

a - Pours a nice golden color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of oak, white wine, spices, cloves, citrus,and Belgian yeast. Slight funk, probably from the wine barrels.

t - Tastes of citrus, Belgian yeast, spices, pepper, cloves, oak, white wine.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

o - Overall an interesting Belgian style ale I really liked. The wine definitely comes through and I really enjoyed it. Would like to have again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Darrell. Hooray beer!

The beer appearsa hazy golden yellow hue with a quarter inch of white head. The aroma offers citrus, wine barrels, white grapes, floral notes. The flavor brings grapes and white wine. The oak character is there, but light. Alcohol content is disguised very well. hard to believe this is 10% abv, other than just the slightest warming sensation in the finish. Overall, a really solid beer.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from mikeyv35. Served in a Bell's tulip. 2010 Vintage

A - Almost perfect for the style. Big orange-tinged foam settles to a chunky meringue-like cap, glass-coating lace, and a murky peach juice body. Could use a tiny bit more clarity if anything.

S - Aroma has a ton of white grape - more juice-like than vinous. There's also a hint of phenolic and spicy yeast, citrus, oaky vanilla, and a bit of stone fruit malt character. Alcohol is pretty well hidden although it comes out as the bee reaches room temperature, and I appreciate that the Chardonnay influence isn't buttery like many other beers I've tried.

T - Taste is a little less interesting. Oak, stone fruits, some peppery, phenolic yeast, light vinous character. It's a little spicier than I prefer and loses some of the sweetness that I enjoyed in the aroma.

M - Moderate carbonation, full-bodied, with light tannic dryness and warming alcohol present. Otherwise quite smooth and creamy.

D - Drank about half the bottle myself, and used the rest to whip up some awesome quinoa. Not super drinkable at 10%, but quite enjoyable and something I'd definitely have again. Best offering I've had from Nebraska Brewing and worth checking out if you're into this sort of beer.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle
Served into a cervoise glass

A: Semi-hazy golden orange colored body with a huge rocky, foamy and fluffy white head. The dissipation was moderate in pace and left great lacing behind. Nice retention cap too.

S: Dry chardonnay, sweet malt, candi sugar, lemon and a bit of musk. Not much of the barrel quality coming through other than the chardonnay influence. Overall just a really a nice smelling beer.

T: Chardonnay hits first along with it's oak barrel counterpart. The sweet Belgian-style pale ale is underneath with plenty of candi sugar, lemongrass and a slightly earthy bitterness towards the back end. Remarkably done and highly drinkable.

M: Well carbonated but still retains a medium body. Nice and smooth on the palate, cleansing and dry in the finish.

This was a great surprise and to my knowledge, my first beer from Nebraska. I hear a lot of good things about their Reserve Series and so far I'm very impressed. I really love the wine influence on the beer, a perfect match.

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Photo of tempest
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My bottle was aged roughly 15 months. There's a hint of oxidation, but at this point it adds to the spicy character. This beer is dry and smooth with a big oak aroma. The flavor is doughy, a little buttery (not like diacetyl), with dried citrus peel and mild oak. This doesn't have the typical acidic bite of a Chardonnary barrel beer. It's far too easy drinking for the strength, not that I'm complaining.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to tulip.

A - Opaque cloudy bright orange colour with two fingers of bright white head.

S - Tartness up front with a big oak character present. Some lemon, Belgian yeast, spice and fruit esters are present as well.

T - Belgian yeast, toasted oak and a nice spice profile are dominant. A bready sweetness throughout with lighter apple and grape notes.

M - Medium body. Dry. Light carbonation.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at Redlight Redlight; January 2011
This pours with a frothy, white colored head that sits on top of a hazed, amber-gold colored beer. The beer smells lightly tart, definitely yeasty, a definite oak influence, there is a chardonnay fruit like character as well as a hint of vanillin and some buttery-oak character. I was expecting to be able to smell some Brettanomyces influence and funkiness, but the nose is quite clean.

My first sip has me noticing a big vanilla flavor to it from the oak as well as a solid chardonnay grape fruitiness and even tartness (this seems to be from the grapes rather than from any wile influence). This beer is not really funky at all & I have had to recalibrate my expectations of this beer. This drinks quite a bit smaller than the 10% alcohol would suggest, there is some viscous heft to the texture, but it is definitely light for its strength.

After tasting this beer, the vanillin in the nose comes out quite a bit more prominently. This beer has a very nice chardonnay character, but it would definitely benefit from some funkiness; it is good as it is, but that can’t keep me for wishing for more. This is perhaps the best chardonnay character in a beer that I have had.

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Photo of Tone
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, gold color. 3/4 inch head of a white color. There is some suspended sediment. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of alcohol, wine, slight dry hop, hint of floral, and slight floral malt. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. The dryness level is not too strong, especially for a 'wine' beer. Tastes of sweet malt, slight floral, slight wine, hint of pale malt, alcohol, and a hint of citrus. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Gouyasse tulip glass. Pours a hazy, medium golden amber with a beautiful three finger fine white head with great retention and lacing. Pleasant aroma of white wine, Belgian yeast and faint oak. Flavor is Belgian yeast, light grape, apple and pear juice; oak influence of vanilla and butter, slight tartness, Belgian and earthy spicing, absolutely delicious. Medium bodied with great creaminess. This is one of the best barrel aged Belgian ales I've had and possibly the only wine barrel aged ale that I totally loved. I'm a big fan of whiskey barrel aged ales, but wine barrel ales are often too tart and vinous for my taste. The Belgian ale base of Melange A Trois completely supported the flavors of the vinous oak, and incorporated them excellently. A totally enjoyable ale. This is the first time I've seriously contemplated moving to Nebraska. A fine production.

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Photo of biegaman
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Melange A Trois has a big, frothy capping characteristic of the style, the kind that to even attempt at sipping basically necessitates a snorkel. If you fell in you'd float. Despite retaining some glow, the beer looks as though it spent months in a barrel; the gold colour has lost entirely all its transparency and is no more clear than a rock.

A distinctive, complex yeast is the ballast for any Belgian-inspired strong golden ale, but this offering has so much more to it than that: the prevailing tartness of wild critters (whether a strain of wild yeast or bacteria from the barrel or both); the buttery, vanilla-cream sweetness and oak-wood must of Chardonnay barrels; the combination thereof the two which is as flattering as it is distinctive. Simply alluring.

The brewery doesn't specify a source for their Chardonnay barrels, but easy money says it's a California winery. This mouthfeel has enough butter that it could be spread over baguette. Think Napa or Paso Robles, and all the creamy (literally), big, oak-y, buttery (almost cream-soda) flavours you'd expect to find in those regions' flagship Chardonnays.

The flavour and aroma both are buffed up with steroidal oak and pure-fat butter. The more typical flavours of dried herbs, warmed white bread crust, vine-ripe hops still serve here as understudies, but the tastes of fleshy pineapple and stone fruit (white peach, nectarine) are in the spotlight. Spicy phenols hardly factor in given the musty, vanillin oak.

With robust flavours of apple and citrus, I'm sure this would make an ideal partner for seafood pasta, roasted chicken and all the cliche meal partners to consider, but I think it is best enjoyed on its own. Food would only take away from an already complex, layered ale. (Food afterwords, mind you, isn't such a bad plan given it's a 10%, 750ml bottle!)

I'd expect something like this from a Bay Area brewer - not because their proximity to the wineries, but because they have to struggle just to stay in the same place. Why a brewery in Nebraska of all places would challenge themselves with such an adventurous undertaking I'm not sure. What business they have in pulling it off so fantastically I've truly no idea.

I’m past the days where barrel-aged beers impress me simply because they’re barrel-aged. Sure, it's neat but so what? Doesn't mean it's good! Melange A Trois, however, is a truly memorable, ingenious, and exemplary offering that makes the case that barrel-aging beer can be an art form. The "melange", if you ask me, is a combination of innovation, complexity, and plain and simple carefree enjoyment. A shame to only do it once...

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Melange A Trois - Reserve Series Aged In French Oak Chardonnay Barrels from Nebraska Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 101 ratings.