Every "beer geek" is born from an epiphany moment in which a certain beer opens up their eyes to the world of craftbrews. For Matthew Barbee, it was a Saison Dupont that was paired with a grilled peach salad. Not soon after, he decided to move from Los Angeles back to his native Ohio to open up his own brewery in the sleepy town of Lancaster. Blessed with water quality nearly identical to that of the Wallonia region in Belgium, Rockmill Brewing began producing four unique Belgian-style ales in 2010.
The Rockmill Dubbel clocks in at a robust 8% alcohol by volume. It pours a rich mahogany color with ample champagne-like carbonation with a light tan head and thick Belgian lacing. Aromas are of caramel, raisins, bananas and toast. The predominant flavors are of toffee, black cherry, dried plum and cognac. The finish is long thanks to a delightful balance of spice provided by the yeast and hops. This brew would pair perfectly with smoked barbecued ribs, a heart beef stew or a washed-rind Belgian cheese. Or you can serve the way Mr. Barbee serves it: with dark chocolate that has been dusted with Himalayan pink sea salt.
Rockmill is currently producing four barrels a week (roughly 130 gallons), but they are hoping to expand production in the near future. Their next release is slated to be a whiskey barrel-aged Belgian tripel. Undoubtedly, Matthew Barbee's Rockmill brews have provided that epiphany moment for more than a few "beer geeks."