Carillon Brewery is situated smack in the middle of Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio.
Carillon Historical Park is one of those living museum sort of affairs -a bit like the one at Iron Bridge Gorge, Telford in the UK. Carillon brewing specialise in producing beers in the same way that all breweries would have many years ago.
When we arrived it was nearly dark and we headed straight to Brewery restaurant (yes. Beer and food. How nice is that?) As it was so late in the day there wasn’t a lot going on apart from some poor old morose-looking lad in a smock slowly cranking an old wooden grain mill.
I opted to load up on the sausage platter with a flight of Carillon beers, just so that I could try them all:
The Carillon Porter – much as it would have been in the dim and distant, this was a dark malt-heavy interpretation of the style with quite a thin body and a vinous, almost sour note to it (caused, I’m guessing, by a smidge of oxidation from the barrel fermenting or ageing?) It was nice enough and provided a glimpse into how beer must have been back then.
The Carillon Coriander Ale – lightish and again with a minimalist body, I found the coriander just a bit too much. This beer was all about the coriander and not much else. But again, it’s harsh to judge these beers by modern standards. Maybe that’s how they dug them, back then?
The Carillon Spiced Dunkelweizen – was a good solid dunkelweizen, nice body, good alcohol, very nice; however, the spicing was just too christmassy for me…I like me spices in a beer to be gentle and subtle…but other than that, very enjoyable indeed.
The Carillon Spruce Ale – The greatest surprise of the four: a nice body, good dark colour and a plentifully solid ale in itself – but the spruce stole the show. I expected this beer to be resinous, a walk in a damp forest sort of thing, but it wasn’t. It was flavourful, nicely bitter and altogether rather refreshing. Not what I expected at all. I loved this and an oily, faintly greenish, tinge made it even more novel and enjoyable. It’s not something that I’d drink every day, but would definitely drink again. Maybe I’ll have to try some Finnish Sahti – as that’s a similar sort of idea…
All-in-all a very enjoyable brewery trip, informative, interesting and with great food and service I’d recommend a visit if you’re in the area…