We’re just a few weeks away from the autumnal equinox. It means that a very special time in the beer calender is upon us – the fall seasonals. Amid the pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers, you’ll find a new entry this year. Boulevard’s Nommo Dubbel will be hitting the shelves this coming week. As a little sneak preview, the kind people at Boulevard gave me a bottle to review, so keep that in mind as you read the rest of the post. I’m a professional, so I don’t think this’ll change my opinions, but still. It’s nice to be upfront about it all.
Now, the Nommo Dubbel came in with a couple strikes against it right away. First, it’s replacing the Seeyoulator Doppelbock, a Smokestack Series beer I enjoyed. Next, it’s a dubbel. I’m not a huge fan of dubbels. Now, I’m going to try to go into this with an open mind, especially since I was given this beer by the brewery. The name “Nommo” – apparently Nommo are some ancestral spirits worshiped by the Dogon tribe, from Mali, coming from the word meaning “to make one drink.” Alright, I’m with it so far. Now, these spirits. They’re created by the sky god Amma. They are hermaphroditic fish-like creatures. hmm. Might this be the first beer named after a hermaphroditic entity? I’m unsure about the name, but I do like that they’ve explained their thought process. (To me, it sounds more like a Rachel Ray-named beer, or a collaboration with Michael McDonald [Nommo B There? Nommo gonna burn this place to the ground]. I’m positive I’ve stolen both of those lines from others. I regret nothing.) I’ve heard rumors that a name that was in the running was Ground Rule, which I think would have been excellent. Ground Rule Dubbel, get it? I picture a label with a baseball diamond, with the cursive script letter. . . it’s fantastic. But, like I said, it’s just a rumor.
Alright, so how about the beer itself? I went over to my buddy Blake‘s place to share the bottle, and luckily, he had some Boulevard Smokestack Glasses. I don’t know what I would have done if he didn’t. The beer had a dark amber color. Not quite brown, but darker than a usual amber. Clean, no sediment or any other floaters. It was pretty easy to get a few fingers of a cream-colored head that left behind some pretty lacing. The first sniff got me a noseful of banana, clove, a little anise. It’s sweet and malty. Time for a sip.
This had a little bit of a syrupy feel, but still, clean. It wasn’t quite coating my teeth, but there was a decent body there. Right off the bat I got the anise flavor, with some sweet clove coming in. There’s a little touch of cinnamon (I don’t know if I would have noticed it if the bottle didn’t mention it), and just kind of spicy. As the beer warmed, the anise became more prevalent, and a “wheaty” flavor starts coming through. Pretty nice. At 8.1%, it’s not a huge beer, but it’s a good 750 to split. The sweetness and full body might be a lot for one person to take on their own. I know it was for me, and I’m not afraid to admit it.
Nommo’s been on tap around Kansas City for a couple weeks now, and I’ve had it once. Honestly, I wasn’t that impressed with it. Like I said, I’m not a huge fan of dubbels. I was glad to get a bottle now, though, to see if there’s any difference between the two versions. The bottled beer was more subdued, and a little mellower. Some aging may do this beer well.
The Nommo is pretty good. I may add the caveat of good “for a dubbel,” but I didn’t have to struggle to make it through the bottle. I’d consider buying a bottle, maybe holding onto one for a little to see how a couple months would treat it.
Look 4.5 My favorite part might have been the beer’s appearance. Not that it’s a bad thing, the beer’s easy on the eyes.
Aroma 4.0 This is where the dubbels start to fall apart for me. Not a huge anise fan. It’s an interesting smell, not altogether bad.
Taste 4.2 Similar to the aroma. Not bad. Not my first choice, but not bad
Feel 4.2 Has nice body. Slightly syrupy, but nice.
I’d give it a solid B. If you like the style, I would think you’d like this beer, pick it up. And if you’re reading this in Massachusetts, guess what? You’re in luck! Boulevard’s going to start distributing their Smokestack Series beers in September! All year-round, seasonal, and limited-release Smokestack Series beers will be available, some in 750ml bottles and others in 12-ounce four-packs. And Tank 7 kegs will be heading east as well, so you’ll be able to get one of my favorite beers on tap. Woo!
It’s getting to be a late night, so I’m struggling a little to come up with a song. This one seems to fit, though, with the whole “dubbel/double” theme. Somehow, I swear it makes sense to me right now. So, listen to “Two of Us” by the Beatles, and enjoy!