Taming the wild yeast tasting – August 23, 2016

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m so extremely pleased at how much popularity sour beers have gained in the past 2-3 years. The number of wildly fermented and kettle soured beers on my shelf is always growing, and every time I’m prompted to think of a tasting idea, the first thing that comes to mind is SOURS! Of course, not everyone uses wild yeast to sour. Maybe funk up, or add fruity characters and texture. Either way, the results are something special! So when I planned this tasting, I focused on wild yeast in general and not just sours. It gave my guests and I a chance to see the incredible variation possible with these feral little organisms. Of course no beer tasting is complete without a large platter or three of cheese and meats from Peasant Cheese, so that’s just what we had! Along with these amazing beers.

Saison-Brett by Boulevard Brewing: Saison-Brett, based on Boulevard’s very popular Tank 7, is assertively dry hopped, then bottle conditioned with various yeasts, including Brettanomyces. A generously malty Saison, that maintains its grassy and lightly spicy character, but with a heavy brett funk and plenty of tropical fruit high tones. ($25.69 for a 750mL bottle)

Whiteout Wit by Anchorage Brewing: It takes a skilled brewer to make a Belgian wit that can turn heads like this one. Aside from the traditional lemon peel, peppercorns and coriander, Anchorage ages this one in French chardonnay barrels with Brett. ($20.79 for a 750mL bottle)

Kettle Sour #4 by Blindman Brewing: Batch #4 of Blindman’s kettle sour. Soured in the kettle with lactobacillus, and fermented with Saccharomyces. The beer is dry-hopped with classic west coast hops, Amarillo and Chinook giving generous citrus and pine notes. It is quite tart and light on the palate, but very drinkable. ($13.29 for a 4-pack of cans)

Bersalis Tripel by Oud Beersel: A blond triple with firm character. The full body taste of wheat malt evolves during drinking from a fruity-bitter flavour to a round sweet taste. Its spices leave a nice feeling in the mouth. The Tripel was then aged 16 months in Chateauneuf du pape red wine barrels alongside lambic barrels which resulted in a spontaneous fermentation of the beer. ($27.99 for a 750mL bottle)

Blueberry Sour by Cascade Brewing: This NW style sour ale blends wheat & blond ales that were oak aged in barrels for 6 months, then additionally aged 4 months on fresh blueberries. Huge herbal notes of dense blueberries in the nose give way to hints of oak & a dusty floral note. Rich earthy notes of dark fruit on the palate lead to a tart finish that dries out to a base note of blueberry skins. ($44.19 for a 750mL bottle)

Beatitude three berry Saison by Council Brewing: This Tart Saison is brewed in the Belgian tradition of tart farmhouse ales. The magic happens when Council’s house blend of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Saison yeast throw an out-of-this-world party in the fermenters. Aged on various fruits, this yields a beer with a lacto forward nose, an intensely tart fruit flavour, a doughy complexity, and takes the word “refreshing” to a whole new level. This version uses blueberry, blackberry and raspberry. ($21.19 for a 750mL bottle)

Sour I brown ale by Central City Brewing: The Sour Brown I (9.2% ABV) is a traditional Flemish style sour brown ale aged for two years in a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon oak barrels and French oak foudres. Its flavour is malty sweet with a balanced acidic finish with barnyard hay notes. ($26.59 for a 750mL bottle)

I think by now many people are used to sour beers and funky yeast, so I don’t even get to delight in people’s reactions anymore! I’m going to have to try harder I guess. Either way, pretty much every beer we tried was pretty great, but what’s the fun if we can’t pick some favourites right? The favourites of tonight in order from first to third were: Achorage Whiteout Wit, Cascade Blueberry sour, and Boulevard Saison-Brett. I can’t say I’m that surprised at the results as they were some of my favourites, though I would have placed the Beatitude a in there I think.

Anyways, that was an incredibly lovely evening. I want to quickly mention that our fall tasting schedule is now live on the website and our latest news letter. Make sure to check out all the beer tastings! Like our First ever Growler party on September 9th!

Until next time Cheers!

- Shawn

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