I am on a road trip. Not with my girlfriends, or a boyfriend, or just me and my dog. No, it’s me, my dog (+2 other dogs), my grandma, my mom, and my sister….oh yea, full car. We didn’t start packing until the day before, yet remained unstressed. The reason is simple…we decided not to care. It is a special combination that comes along only once in a great while when you have the combination of the unemployed and retired people. I come to you today from a hotel room in Savannah, GA which is actually irrelevant…because the beer that I am really excited to talk you about this week is a combination of Sierra Nevada and Russian River. I’m sure I have had a sour beer before but it must not have made an impression on me.
American *Wild Ales are difficult to make because they take a lot of time, and a little bit of luck. The time comes from the need to have aged barrels which you can either purchase or create. Not everyone can make this type of beer because with barrels, also comes the need to store them which if you are making any quantity of beer can be a lot of space. Probably the most rewarding and risky part of this kind of beer is that it is not an exact science. You can leave one tube unchanged or have a bad bacteria and the whole batch can be wrong. Brux is fermented in the bottle with a *Brettanoymces Bruxellensis. This strain of wild yeast was isolated from brewery cultures in the Brussels region of Belgium. It produces that “sweaty horse blanket” character that has come to be expected from sour beers. At least 3-6 months of aging is typical for the flavor to fully develop.
I really have to hand it to Serria Nevada and Russian River, this beer is phenomenal. This is the first American Wild Ale I’ve had and I have to say…I am a fan. It is very carbonated, and you can see strands of bubbles being active as they work their way up the glass. These beers are typically sour, but I felt like the sourness of this beer was actually pleasant giving a complexity to the taste. The initial flavor is almost citrusy, but there is a definite punch to it. The bitterness is almost non-existent. However, be prepared for an after tastes, which is where the “sourness” comes through. While my sister argued that it reminded her of the bitterness left over after an IPA, I had to disagree. I don’t think bitterness properly describes what this beer is doing to your taste buds. It is strong and omnipresent in your mouth; it comes immediately after the sensation of refreshment. The head on this beer appeared to be very white and if you don’t pour carefully it will last for a few minutes. However, the head is not very dense. The color was a very appealing light orange caramel color. It truly is easy to drink, even though I was planning on not loving it because of the descriptive words; sour, sweaty horse blanket, and “Brett(anomyces) infested”. If nothing else this showed me to never judge a beer by its professional written descriptive words. I would give this beer 4 out 5 pints. I don’t like many people that much….so that is saying something.
The Pour: Take your time with this one; it will bubble up on you because of the carbonation. Tip your glass and pour it slow. It is traditionally served in a flute or tulip glass (classy stuff)
Aroma: barnyard smell, citrus, breadiness, herbal, earthy mutliness
Wild Ale: a catchall category of funky-tasting, offbeat, sour beers dosed with wild yeasts; such as the brettanomyces bruxellensis in this one.
Brettanomyces: slow-growing, devours complex sugars and carbohydrates that other yeasts don’t. It gives an earthy, horsey, leather scent.
– Interesting Fact: considered a defect in wine.
Great Video about Brux: