Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Thermo Refur

Furthermore Beer
Spring Green, WI

Style: Belgian Ale

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

Pair With:
Nothing beats a good liquor store. And what makes a good liquor store isn’t simply a giant selection, even if it includes hard-to-get imports or obscure craft brews. I believe the single most important attribute of the good beer store is a staff that is both knowledgable and passionate about great beer. Take, for instance, tonight’s beer, Furthermore Thermo Refur. I’m a big fan of the brewery, and when I came across a couple of singletons of their latest freaky concoction I marched up to the store counter with my impending purchases in tow. The clerk congratulated me on my selection and asked if I’d had it before. I said, “No.” She said, “Make sure to let it warm up, drink it at about 60°. This one definitely needs it to bring out all the flavor.”

Which turned out to be fantastic advice. The promotional copy on the bottle says this is “beer brewed with red beets and black pepper.” At first this didn’t sound all that exotic. Furthermore already has a nice pale ale brewed with black pepper, and Belgian breweries regularly use beet sugar as a way to both lighten their brews and crank up the wowee sauce. But the instant the beer entered my glass things got extremely interesting.

First off, the pour is red—an honest-to-goodness dark red. Even the giant, fine-bubbled head is tinged a little pink. They must’ve put red beets right into the mash or something. And the nose is explosively huge: sharp black pepper aroma mixing it up with clove notes so strong they border on cinnamon to create a funky, funky smell. It’s worth buying this beer just to experience the smell alone.

Black pepper and dry malt make up the front of the beer’s sip, a powerful, earthy combination that at times can be overpowering. Yeasty clove notes peek out for a second, then a medium-lengthed finish is a big shot of black pepper spiciness, so big, in fact, that it can get a little harsh. That makes the beer a little slow to sip, despite a relatively light, effervescent body.

Before rendering a verdict, I’d like to go on record to say Thermo Refur is an enormously complex, expertly executed brew. The only problem is … I didn’t particularly like the taste of it. I don’t exactly know what it is that turned me off, but the interplay between the pepper and cloves, while immensely interesting, just didn’t appeal to me the way some other complex—and, in some cases, even more challenging—brews have done. But it is definitely worth buying a couple of bottles to explore this wild, free-sprited brew, which is why I’m recommending it. And if you do sample it, make sure to let it warm up first so you can experience every twist and turn hidden in Thermo Refur, just like the good beer store clerk said.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on April 21, 2009.
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