Sly Fox News

February 10, 2016


Two decades is but a tick of the cosmic clock, but nonetheless it is an impressive milestone for any family-owned business. In that time, the brewing company “family” has grown to include a state-of-the-art production facility, two popular pubs and committed kin that consistently deliver award-winning, authentic beer to an ever-growing audience of dedicated fans. In 2016, as we press on toward the next twenty years, we extend gratitude to everyone who has supported our mission.

Sly Fox’s 20 is a one-time release in celebration of their 20th birthday—so we don’t expect to see it again anytime soon. (Maybe for their 40th?) This limited Belgian-style golden ale saw an exceptionally modest distribution outside of the brewery, limited to about 250 cases that saw a bit of shelf time in New York and Pennsylvania. Our long-standing relations over with the esteemed Sly Fox team allowed us to finagle enough of it for our Rare Beer Club members.

Behold! More glorious beer and finagling awaits!

This is lovely stuff in the glass, drumming up memories of the world-class Westmalle Tripel and other massively headed Belgian-style tripels and/or golden ales. 20 pours deeply golden with a good bit of haze present. That bright, white foam atop said nectar takes up a sizable portion of the glass, leaving behind a peristent ring of lacing. Everything we’d want to see.

Throughout, this feels like a way bigger beer than the 6.6% suggests. There’s no alcohol or anything along those lines, but we really dig how much of a robust yeast character and crisp maltiness is coming through here. Aromatics lead with notes of almond and citrusy pepper, with things opening up from there into doughy, honeyed malts along with dates and sweet-orange qualities. There’s just enough sweetness here—like marmalade on buttered toast. A subtle, refreshing vein of grassiness and mint appear on the edge, courtesy of dry-hopping.

Best of all, for us, is all of that combined crispness and honeyed depth following through in the flavor. We were totally down with this one. A firm undercurrent of zesty carbonation is assisted by the solid peppery and clove phenols from the yeast. One could, for better or for worse, think of these elements as the reliable and efficient honeycomb structure underneath the layers of baklava-like sweeter notes of this beer. There’s rich honey, candied oranges, an expansive doughiness, toasty bread, vanilla-focused esters—as much as you care to look for. Yet the complete package feels effortlessly light: a sign of greatness in Belgian-style brewing.

This is bright, limber, herbaceous and delicious. Drink up! If you don’t immediately do so... this one should be good for at least a year or so in the cellar, with our only reservation being the modest alcohol levels present. Effervescent carbonation and pepper here are able to slice through buttery, fattier pairings; the orange marmalade note suggests a chicken or duck focus.

Additional information can be found HERE.