Horse blankets, pineapples, and sweat socks. Do we have your attention?
Brettanomyces, or Brett, is an infamous yeast that is feared by many and treasured by others. Since it occurs naturally in the wild, most breweries try their hardest to prevent it from getting into their beers. Its signature barnyard aroma and flavors are viewed as a flaw in most beer styles. Several Belgian brewers decided instead to showcase its eccentricities and many American craft brewers are beginning to experiment with this beguiling creature. While its often present in sour beers, beers brewed with Brett are not inherently sour. Depending upon the particular strain of Brettanomyces, it tends to produce earthy notes with accents of peppercorn and sometimes even tropical fruit. Its a voracious eater so be prepared for dry and effervescent beers. Here are a few of our favorites. Are you ready to get down with the barn?
Two Brothers A Bretter Day
Not sure youre quite ready to dive headfirst into Brett filled waters? Two Brothers A Bretter Day is the perfect place to get your feet wet. With a nice fruity nose and lively carbonation, its Brett character is pronounced but not overwhelming. A refreshing change of pace from Two Brothers.
Orval Trappist Ale
An outlier, almost everything about Orval is just a little bit different. While most Trappist breweries focus on malty dubbels and tripels and quadrupels, Orval distributes only one beer, and it is hoppy and funky. Once you pop one of their unique bowling pin bottles you are immediately hit with the aroma of earthy yeast and hops. Famous for its cellar-ability, with time its hoppiness fades as it becomes rounder and more complex.
Goose Island Matilda
Matilda is Goose Islands homage to Orval. Spicy on the nose, this fruity ale is not quite as hoppy as Orval but still highlights earthy and herbaceous European hops. As good as it is fresh, Matilda really shines after some time in the cellar. Give Brett some time to work its magic and consume some of those residual sugars. Its worth the wait.
Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René
This is not your typical Lindemans. Cuvée René is quite different from the bright fruity lambics for which Lindemans is famous. This blend of aged lambics is extremely dry, with bright citrus notes and a lovely champagne-like effervescence. Pairs wonderfully with blue cheese.
Blue Blood Outlaw Series Saison with Brett
Centuries before refrigeration caves served as cool, dark, safe havens for conditioning beer. Many breweries continue to use them to this day. Nebraskas Blue Blood Brewing built their brewery atop Robbers Cave, a purported hideaway of Jesse James. This saison spent some time in that famous cave resting in wine barrels with Brett. On the nose there is citrus, hay and a hint of funk. The mouthfeel is creamy with soft delicate carbonation accenting notes of pink peppercorn and allspice. Brett is nuanced here, making this a very approachable and delicious saison.
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