Classical Beer Review: Weyerbacher Heresy

I am thrilled to review a Weyerbacher beer. I have a soft-spot for Weyerbacher because I grew upin the same town and my family occasionally ate at their old brewpub when I was a child. Of course, I was too young to drink, but my father seemed to enjoy their brews. Later, when I came of age, their beers were some of my first craft beers. I no longer live in PA, and Weyerbacher beers have since become a bit harder to come by.

Heresy. I’m drinking a vintage that is nearly a year old. The age is unlikely to have harmed the beer and, in fact, potentially mellowed any alcoholic or other harsh flavors (if they were present).

Heresy pours dark and immediately presents a pleasant, chocolate aroma. I take a sip and enjoy the balanced stout. The amount of bourbon works well with the chocolate, roast, and dark fruit flavors with no flavor overpowering the other. Surprisingly, the beer reminds me of chocolate cake batter . . . but, only in flavor. Indeed, a sticky, unctuous stout, this is not. The beer possesses a relatively restrained sweetness and medium mouthfeel. An excellent choice for the beer lover who desires that nice stouty ichor, but does not want to commit to a full, 12%, sugar-bomb.

Greco-Roman Background
Heresy is the anglicized form of the Greek word αἵρεσις (meaning: a taking, a choice, a receiving, a set of principles). In religious contexts, the word was often used for a school of thought or philosophy. Early Christian authors, for instance, used the word to refer to different religious sects. As such, it was later attached to profane or other beliefs that were at odds with the orthodoxy.

For an example of its use, see Josephus, Wars of the Jews 2.8.1:
Τῆς δὲ Ἀρχελάου χώρας εἰς ἐπαρχίαν περιγραφείσης ἐπίτροπος τῆς ἱππικῆς παρὰ Ῥωμαίοις τάξεως Κωπώνιος πέμπεται μέχρι τοῦ κτείνειν λαβὼν παρὰ Καίσαρος ἐξουσίαν. ἐπὶ τούτου τις ἀνὴρ Γαλιλαῖος Ἰούδας ὄνομα εἰς ἀπόστασιν ἐνῆγε τοὺς ἐπιχωρίους κακίζων, εἰ φόρον τε Ῥωμαίοις τελεῖν ὑπομενοῦσιν καὶ μετὰ τὸν θεὸν οἴσουσι θνητοὺς δεσπότας. ἦν δ᾽ οὗτος σοφιστὴς ἰδίας αἱρέσεως οὐδὲν τοῖς ἄλλοις προσεοικώς.

AND now Archelaus’s part of Judea was reduced into a province, and Coponius, one of the equestrian order among the Romans, was sent as a procurator, having the power of [life and] death put into his hands by Caesar. Under his administration it was that a certain Galilean, whose name was Judas, prevailed with his countrymen to revolt, and said they were cowards if they would endure to pay a tax to the Romans and would after God submit to mortal men as their lords. This man was a teacher of a peculiar sect of his own, and was not at all like the rest of those their leaders (trans. William Whiston, A.M. 1895).

8% ABV
12 oz.
Imperial Stout aged in oak bourbon barrels
Brewed by: Weyerbacher Brewing Co., Easton, PA



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