Deep Ellum prepared what it believes to be its masterpiece for quite a while, debuting its new Four Swords in December, after four separate attempts of perfecting the beer in the brewhouse (most of their beers take two attempts). And with this new Belgian style quad brewed for winter, all of their hard work may have paid off.
The moniker “Four Swords” comes from the four brewers (swordsmen) at Deep Ellum, as each has had a hand in the brewing process. The brewers were inspired by the dark, seasonal Trappist ales of Belgium, and worked passionately to bring out the deep, rich flavors indicative in that style of beer in the Four Swords.
The beer itself is dark, with a bit of ruby to its color. It’s strong and boozy right out of the gate, reminding me of a smoky scotch or rich bourbon. It has all the usual suspects you’d expect to find in a winter seasonal: coffee, toffee, chocolate, caramel and some spices you’d expect to find in a Christmas beer. Four Swords mellows out towards the end of the sip and finishes with a bit of sweetness. In the end, you’re left with a delightful combination of slight bitterness and malty sweetness on your taste buds. Overall, Four Swords is an incredibly balanced beer, and you’ll be glad it comes in large 750 ml. bottles, which are big enough to share if you don’t mind giving up a bit of great beer.
The heavy Belgian influence in this beer is clear from the first sip. It reminds me of some of the darker monastic beers I’ve had in the past, and it certainly lives up to its Belgian flavor profile. If you can still find this beer before the weather breaks, buy more than just one. I promise you, the complexity of flavors will have you yearning for those extra bottles.
Brewery: Deep Ellum Brewery
City: Dallas, Texas
Availability: Limited, winter, find the 750 ml. bottles while you can