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Denton Brewery Armadillo Ale Works’ Town Squared Is A Commendable Homage To The Belgian-Native Style Of A Dark Strong Ale.

This week we sipped on Town Squared from Armadillo Ale Works.

Fast Facts about Town Squared
Style: Belgian Dark Strong Ale.
ABV: 9.5%
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 40
Color: Copper brown.
Availability: March-May in Draught and Cans — year-round in brewery taproom.

Overview
Armadillo Ale Works is both one of the oldest breweries and yet, one of the newest breweries in the DFW area. Like many craft breweries, it started with a couple of guys home-brewing in a garage before taking it to a full taproom. Founded in 2010, this brewery first made a name for itself by making craft soda. From there, it moved into contract brewing the beer out of Deep Ellum. After that, an initial attempt at opening a brewery of its own in Denton fell through, and Armadillo actually closed for a while. It came back with a new contract partner, brewing with North Texas Brewing Company in Grapevine before finally opening under its own name in Denton in the summer of 2018. Along the way, it picked up a fist full of medals for its beer from big-name events, with the highlight being a very impressive Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival for Quakertown Stout.

Background on Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Belgian Dark Strong Ale, also referred to as Quadruple — or ‘Quad’ for short — is one of four styles of Trappist beer, although many non-Trappist breweries have one in the lineup. This is a big style with ABV levels officially in the 8 to 12 percent range. Belgian Dark Strong Ales should have a malt forward profile accented with fun phenolic (spicy) and ester (fruit) notes that would be flaws in many other beer styles — these are always big, complex brews with a unique flavor. While this style is dark in color, don’t expect any roasted aromas. These beers are often brewed with candied sugars in addition to the malted barley.

Appearance
Town Squared pours exactly like you expect a Belgian Dark Strong Ale to – a rich brown with dark copper highlights and tan head that bubbles up quick in the glass. The beer has a light cloudiness to it but clears a bit with time. The foam stand is disappointing, as it doesn’t fill the head space in the glass – even with a vigorous pour – and doesn’t feel creamy and dense. It also disappears completely in very short order.

Aroma
The aroma coming out of a glass of Town Squared is complex, deep and all Belgian. The malt and yeast are the obvious headliners here, as the malt backbone provides dark bread and caramel aromas while the yeast brings fruit and spice smells, including figs, plums, black cherries, pepper and a touch of vanilla.

Flavor
Belgian Dark Strong Ales are usually a case of “what you smell is what you taste,” and Town Squared exemplifies this idea. It is a piece of lightly toasted black bread covered with a spiced fig and raisin spread. The can says Town Squared has 40 IBUs, but they are hidden well as there is little no bitterness in this well-balanced brew. It finishes semi-dry with just enough residual sweetness to leave you wanting more.

Mouthfeel
Town Squared is a smooth drinker with a medium body that fills the mouth without being heavy. The medium-light carbonation means there is no real bite to the beer, and the alcohol makes itself known with a slight warming in the mouth which is very pleasant. The finish is ultimately clean and medium in length.

Pairing
Pairing big Belgian beers like Town Squared is fun. There is so much going on here that you often have a lot of options. Having said that, the first thing everyone absolutely needs to try with this beer is an aged Gouda cheese – the older the better. The specific recommendation here is Beemster XO. Other great cheese options include aged cheddars, English blues and Gruyere. Roasted duck makes for a great dinner partner with Town Squared, too. The gamier meat flirts with the spicy notes in the beer and nearly any kind of dark fruit sauce or glaze on the duck will make the beer sing. For dessert, have a go at a bread pudding.

Overall Impression
Town Squared is a solid beer. I really enjoyed the complex aroma and flavor. It’s an obvious Belgian from the off with many of the hallmark qualities of the style I love so much. Armadillo is also doing something I like with on a label where I got a nod to proper serving temperature (55F, if you are curious) as well as the right glass style – a Belgian tulip. Even the name is cool with a subtle callback to the Quadruple.

I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the head on this beer. It lacked the dense creaminess I enjoy in the style, and any sense of it was gone in seconds, leaving absolutely nothing behind. The carbonation seems to be lacking as well – the beer goes nearly flat too fast for me. While I liked a lot about the packaging of this beer, I do wish Armadillo included a date on the can – specifically the date it was packaged. This is one of those things that is hit and miss in the local brewing community so Armadillo isn’t alone, but it really should be a no-brainer.

Faults aside, finding a Belgian Dark Strong Ale brewed locally and available in package form was a pleasant surprise and I will definitely be picking up more of this before it disappears in May.

Score
On a scale of 1 to 10, I give Town Squared from Armadillo Ale Works a 7.

Previous On Tap Reviews:

• Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
• Lakewood Brewing’s Salted Caramel Temptress: 10.
• Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
• Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
• Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s Freak Flag: 10.
• Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
• Collective Brewing Project’s Boysenbarrel: 10.
• Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
• Community’s Legion: 10.
• Martin House River Horse: 9.75.
• BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
• Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
• 903 Brewers’ Birthday Sasquatch: 9.5.
• TUPPS Brewery’s Full Grown Scallywag: 9.5.
• On Rotation’s Flocculation of Seagulls: 9.5.
• Braindead Brewing’s P-Wing: 9.5.
• Lakewood Brewing Company’s Coconut Temptress: 9.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
• Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
• Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
• Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
• Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• Collective Brewing Project’s SMaSHY: 9.25
• BrainDead Brewing’s Galactic Federation of Might: 9.25
• On Rotation’s Lingonberry Sahti: 9.25.
• Martin House Brewing Company’s The Morrigan: 9.25.
• On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
• Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
• Braindead Brewing Company’s Dr. Dreipricot: 9.
• Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
• Manhattan Project Beer Company’s Necessary Evil: 9.
• Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
• Funky Picnic’s Funny Accent: 9.
• Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
• Division Brewing’s Smokin’ Jack-o’s: 9.
• Wild Acre’s Mondlift: 9.
• Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
• Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
• Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
• Bankhead Brewing Co.’s Giggle Water: 9.
• Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
• Manhattan Project’s Wise Monkeys: 9.
• Cedar Creek’s Poblano Paradise: 8.75.
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest: 8.75.
• Lakewood Brewing Company IPA: 8.75.
• Small Brewpub’s Black Pepper Pils: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
• Community Beer Company’s Passiflora: 8.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
• Community Beer Company’s Wit ‘N Wild: 8.5.
• Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
• Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
• Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Prime Minister: 8.25.
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s Winter Warmer: 8.25.
• Noble Rey Brewing’s Barampus: 8.25.
• Martin House’s Possum Kingdom Pilsner: 8.25.
• Community Beer Company’s Brett’s Get It On: 8.25.
• Bankhead Brewing Company’s Aoogah!: 8.25.
• Lakewood’s Peach Artsy Tarsty: 8.25.
• Peticolas Brewing Company’s Clandestine: 8.
• Lakewood Brewing Grand Allowance: 8.
• HopFusion Ale Works’ Hairpin: 8
• Peticolas’ Golden Opportunity: 8
• Three Nations’ Devout (Mexican Chocolate): 8
• Collective Brewing Project’s Cup O’ Sumpin Raspberry Lemonade: 8.
• Texas Ale Project’s Smash Experiment: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Greenbelt Farmhouse Ale: 8.
• Cedar Creek Brewery’s Gone A-Rye: 8.
• Community’s Texas Helles: 8.
• On Rotation’s Moar Blackberry: 8.
• Franconia’s Silver Star Bock: 8
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s Paleta de Mango: 8.
• Peticolas Brewing Company’s Doctor’s Orders: 8.
• Hop & Sting Brewing Company’s Galactic Haze: 8.
• Lakewood’s Thread Spinner: 8.
• Bishop Cider Co.’s Sour Cherry: 8.
• Texas Ale Project 50 Ft. Jackrabbit: 8.
• Cedar Creek Brewery’s Gone A-Rye: 8.
• Pegasus City Brewing’ Nine Volt: 8.
• Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
• Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
• Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
• Pegasus City Brewery’s Cannoneer: 8.
• Pegasus City Brewery’s Sixth Floor: 8.
• Lakewood’s All Call: 8.
• Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
• 903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
• Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
• Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
• Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
• 903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
• TUPPS’ DDH IPA Series 16: 8.
• Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
• BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
• Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
• Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
• Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
• Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
• New Main Brewing’s Thundersnow: 8.
• Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
• Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
• Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
• Deep Ellum’s Neato Bandito: 8.
• Revolver’s Bock: 8.
• 903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
• Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
• Division Brewing’s Distant Cousin: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
• Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
• Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
• Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
• Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
• Pegasus City Brewery’s The Woofus: 7.75
• Four Corners Brewing Company Homie Brew: 7.75.
• Community Beer Company’s Snickerdoodle: 7.75.
• Pegasus City Brewery’s High Point: 7.75.
• Cedar Creek’s Grapefruit Haze: 7.75.
• Martin House Brewing’s Big Hoppa: 7.75.
• TUPPS Full Grown Man: 7.75.
• 3 Nations American Wit: 7.75.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Dapper Apple: 7.75.
• 903 Brewers’ Kilt Switch: 7.5.
• Chimera Dirty Dog: 7.5.
• 3 Nations Brewing Company’s Imperial Milk Stout: 7.5.
• Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
• Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
• Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
• Noble Rey Brewing Company’s Frooty Tang: 7.5.
• Martin House Brewing’s Pretzel Stout: 7.5.
• Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
• Texas Ale Project’s Good To Go: 7.5.
• Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
• Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
• Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
• On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
• True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
• Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
• Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
• Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
• Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
• Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
• Cedar Creek Brewery Clover Kicker: 7.25.
• Noble Rey Sex In A Canoe: 7.25.
• Legal Draft Beer Company Free & Clear: 7.25.
• Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
• Noble Rey’s European Vacation: 7
• Unlawful Assembly’s Public Dissent: 7.
• Deep Ellum Rye Pils: 7.
• Union Bear’s Amber Red Ale: 7.
• Turning Point Beer’s Silent Treatment: 7.
• Wild Acre Brewing Company’s Ranch Style: 7.
• 3 Nations Mango SMASH IPA: 7.
• Legal Draft Chief Justice Stout: 7.
• Legal Draft’s Black Letter Law: 7.
• Noble Rey Brewing Company’s Mother Night: 7.
• TUPPS Brewery’s Imperial Saison: 7.
• Manhattan Project’s Plutonium-239: 7.
• Panther Island Brewing’s Sweet Fang: 7.
• Backcountry’s Texas IPA: 7.
• Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
• Wild Acre Brewing Company’s Billy Jenkins: 7.
• Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
• Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
• Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
• TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
• Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
• BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
• Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
• Three Nations Brewing Co.’s Texas Gold Chili Lime: 7.
• Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
• Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
• BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
• Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
• Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
• Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
• Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
• Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
• Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
• Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
• Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
• Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
• Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
• 903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
• 903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
• Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
• Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
• Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
• Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
• Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Shanning Brewing Co.’s Mór IPA: 7.
• Martin House’s River House: 7.
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
• Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
• Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
• Texas Ale Project’s Hawaiian Roadrunner: 6.75.
• Whistle Post’s Shoofly Coconut Lime Ale: 6.75.
• Community Brewing Company’s Silly Gose: 6.75
• HopFusion Ale Works’ Feisty Blonde: 6.75
• Martin House’s Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
• Armadillo Ale Works Land Yacht IPA: 6.5
• Three Nations Texas Xmas Hazelnut Ale: 6.5.
• Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
• Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
• Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
• Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
• 903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
• Four Corners’ Celebración: 6.5.
• Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Ale: 6.5.
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
• Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
• Cedar Creek’s Maui Wowie: 6.25.
• On Rotation’s Mexican Barleywine: 6.25.
• Thirsty Bro Brewing Co.’s Sweet Cherry Blonde: 6
• On Rotation’s Darjeeling Tea Session Ale: 6.
• Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 6.
• Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
• TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
• Brutal Beerworks’ Mother Heffer: 6.
• Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
• Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
• Rahr & Sons’ Angry Santa: 6.
• Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
• Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
• Cobra Brewing Company’s Dawn of the Dank: 6
• Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
• Lakewood’s Troll Toll: 5.5.
• Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
• Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
• Martin House’s Best Maid Sour Pickle Beer: 5.
• Woodcreek’s Lakeside Cerveza: 5.
• Legal Draft Beer Company’s Smash & Grab IPA: 5.
• Martin House Cuvee Pumpkin Latte: 5.
• Intrinsic’s Crunktoberfest: 5.
• Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
• 903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
• Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
• TUPPS’ Day Off: 4.75.
• 3 Nations’ Lady Luck Horchata Ale: 4.5.
• Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
• Audacity’s Checkered Past: 4.
• Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
• Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
• Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
• Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
• TUPPS’ Cotton Candy Shandy: 4.
• Good Neighbor Brews’ Slim Sweetness: 3.
• Good Neighbor Brews’ O’Carrol’s Irish Red: 3.
• Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
• Franconia Wheat: 3.
• 903 Brewers’ Mythical Creatures: 2.5.
• Miller Lite: 1

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