Town and Country's Six Ten Brewing has a respectable success rate with specialty beer bottle releases. From the seasonal and simply named Fall (a rum barrel-aged pumpkin stout) and Winter (a spiced ale) to the just released 612 rye whiskey barrel-aged barleywine, Six Ten's limited-edition bottles have been both thoughtfully conceived and well received.
None is more compelling than Babble to the Nag, a rosemary- and vanilla-flavored IPA that was released in March during Tampa Bay Beer Week and can still be found in bottles — and occasionally on draft — throughout the bay area. You'll know it by the beautiful silver, purple and green matte metallic label, featuring a witch tending to a cauldron in an enchanted forest.
While rosemary, vanilla and IPA reads like a combination selected from a dartboard, the effect is impressive, even startling. Rosemary's spicy, savory qualities aren't so far removed from the earthier, more pungent hop varieties. And vanilla? Whether by random luck or shrewd design, Six Ten has created a memorable and satisfying flavor profile that will surprise even prolific drinkers.
Straight out of the cooler, Babble to the Nag is noticeably hop-forward, with a mild hint of rosemary in the nose and a spicy bite in the finish. As it warms, the creamy vanilla builds up until it balances evenly with the relatively aggressive hop profile. I highly recommend drinking this slowly, letting the beer gradually warm to nearly room temperature before finishing it off.
Justin Grant, Times correspondent