Located in Amherst & Northhampton, MA
This week, I'd like to cover two sister pubs in central Massachusetts founded by the same owner, both of which exude awesomeness and legendary in their own right.
Moan and Dove lives in Amherst, a big college town in a small city atmosphere. Surrounded by deep acres of thick woods, the city's downtown has a rustic and down-to-earth feel. But when night falls, a wander here and there might put you face to face with the wild and untamed. Thus, it was an unexpected find when I came across Moan and Dove, the legendary beer bar that sits across a couple food joints secluded away from the nightly college commotion.
Maybe not the best representation of the bar because it truly comes alive at the crack of sunset. The atmosphere is dark but welcoming, like an authentic pub that embraces you with the sweet smell of beer. Absolutely no food is available, except for the barrel full of peanuts so BYOF if you're looking for a beer snack. For me, I stick to the liquid diet on my first trip...though I frequently visited this joint in the 3-4 weeks I worked in the area. They have hands-down a great, though small, bottle list selection but I was able to snag this baby.
- Appearance- Hazy brown/red with yeast strains floating. Fairly short and subtle tan head and fizzles out quickly to result in a wine-like appearance.
- Smell- Sharp tart from the cherries and oak aroma give this a wonderful essence (if you're into cherries)
- Taste- The "oerbier" is known for its tartness and it gets more complex with age. Given its nature, it has notes of oak, cherry, and malt, all of which linger on the palate giving way into a drier grape tannin texture
- Mouthfeel- As a sour/dark ale combination, it has a medium body with a creamy start and alcohol finish.
- Overall- This is beast of a dark Belgium ale at 13% and I should have drank more. Incredibly complex from sweet to tarty with savory malt finish. It stands on its own category for sour and Belgium lovers.
The Dirty Truth is less beer pub and more beer restaurant. Don't let the chalkboard fool because the beers, staff, and food is still first class. There's a delicate balance of hand-picked flavors in each dish and a perfect beer to compliment it. In retrospect, this restaurant caters more to the delicate hipster cuisine with a side of suave but its honestly located at a great location. If the Moan and Dove was a geeky college student fully interested in beer only classes, this restaurant would be the older and more sophisticated sister who's ventured onto the food scene. I don't expect this to make sense but take my challenge and visited both spots next time you're in central Massachusetts, they're worth it.
- Appearance- Dark brown and very bubbly. Inch of head with small yeast particles.
- Smell- Funky vinegar and musty oak. Smells of lemon really come out.
- Taste- Expected (and got) a very zesty taste with lots of sour notes and acidic aftertaste.
- Mouthfeel- Heavily carbonated balancing out the sour. Crisp and refreshing.
- Overall- It's quite a palette cleanser and leaves a lingering acidic taste. A really good blend and fairly balanced geuze. However, where it lacks in strength it overcomes in flavor and I absolutely think this is a perfect example of the gueze genre.