Now that I’ve been writing this blog for awhile, I find that I spend a good amount of time at State Line looking for my next post. I walk up and down the aisles looking for something that not only peaks my interest to try, but also has “a hook” that I can write about. Something about the beer(s) that speaks to my quirky side, beyond just the hops and malt. An aspect that I can have some fun with, and as one of my best friend’s father used to say, “It doesn’t take much to amuse the retard!” So when DuClaw Brewing’s Anti-Venom walked into State Line a while back I swore I wouldn’t drink it until I got a hold of a bottle of their Venom. After all, what good is drinking the antidote if you haven’t first had the poison. So let’s see if I survive…
THEM: Venom’s grain bill consists of pale, aromatic and crystal malts and is hopped with columbus and cascade hops. It’s bittered to 36 IBUs and sports 5.6% ABV. Anti-Venom is a single hopped beer in the style of Venom. It’s brewed with New Zealand Green Bullet hops over a grain bill of pale, caramunich and carared (a malt produced by Weyermann, that is especially made for red ales) malts. Like Venom it’s brewed to a original gravity of 13.5 plato, but the IBUs are higher at 45. The ABV clocks in at the same 5.6%.
ME: Venom pours a clear amber with a thin head that dissipates into a thin layer of lace across the top of the beer. The nose is surprisingly light with only a mild hop aroma. The taste starts with a slight malt sweetness in the front and follows through with citrus notes with a lingering (not crisp) hop finish. Anti-Venom pours amber as well (I have myself convinced that it’s an iota darker) with a head that reduces to a fine lace. The nose is more malty than its partner and indeed, that maltiness comes across in the taste along with a touch of caramel. Anti-Venom finishes with a bitterness that seems cleaner to me than the Venom, leaving a pleasing after taste.
From a quick look at the packaging I was suspecting something different. I came into this tasting believing that Anti-Venom would be a single hop clone of Venom. That’s not actually true as the two beers are indeed different. Anti-Venom (my favorite of the two for those who care) brings more malt to the party , and because of it doesn’t seem more or less bitter than Venom despite having 10 more IBUs.
Anti-venom was my first beer (that I’m aware of, but I feel confident that I’m correct) that utilized green bullet hops. Its flavor profile is different than the cascade/columbus combo found in Venom, the green bullet having more of an “English ale” hop characteristic to it.
If you get a chance, seek out these two very good beers from DuClaw and decide which is better for you, the poison or the cure. Whatever your taste in beer, I believe you’ll find one of these to your liking.
Time for another beer.
COMING UP: I DO SOME HOP EXTRA CREDIT AND I REMINISCE ABOUT THE SUMMERS OF MY YOUTH.