Style: Belgian Session Pale Ale
From: Gypsy Brewer (location unknown)
Brewer’s Note: “So for designing my table beer I had to balance all my imbibing desires into a compilation of some of my favorite attributes; thus creating a product that would be pleasing on any day or time. Crisp, dry finish highlighted by esters of Belgian yeast and the light funk of Brettanomyces; then accented with an abundance of hops adding a piney earth aroma. Balance is always the goal, but for this I also wanted extreme quaff-ability, refreshment, and subtle complexity… Classic? Perhaps.” –Brian Strumke, Stillwater Artisanal
The beer’s label is simple and highly text based. I love the clean black and white, as it reminds me of a newspaper, and for this label all of the fonts work beautifully, except for the note on the beer that the brewer provides. For some reason, this text looks too thin and not dark enough for the rest of the beer. The text is also overlapped with the Stillwater logo, which is a little sloppy on the designer’s part, and takes away from an otherwise beautiful beer label. The boring text is kept beautifully to the side on this label, and I like how it provides a vintage date for the beer. This label is pretty and could look nice on a minimalist, or text-art shelf, but I think I will be scrapbooking it.
The beer pours an oranging-yellow with straw notes, with a big sloppy, soap bubble head on top that sticks at about a finger-and-a-half’s width. The head leaves a lacing of sloppy drooping soap bubbles on the side of the glass. In body, the beer appears clear except for a slight haze and a nice torrent of tiny carbonation bubbles. On the nose, the beer smells of funky yeast with touches of herbal mint, citrus, slight brett funk, and even some slight paint thinner smell. In the citrus smell it moves from lemon to slight pineapple and then back to the lemon. On the tongue, the beer tastes citric sweet, then bread sweet, and then mellows with a nice herbal bitter and a touch of salt and acid. In flavors, the beer begins as sweet lemon grass that moves into slight grapefruit, pine, slight pineapple, and citrus caramel bread malt flavors, which mold out over the tongue and introduce a minty herbal spice with breadier side notes. There are even some slight saline flavors in the beer. The finish mellows the citrus lemon, slight funk, and herbal spice notes into a beautiful final crescendo that has a little lasting power. The aftertaste is light clean and slightly salty. In the mouth, the beer does feel extremely quaffable. It sits on the tongue on the light side of medium and features a supremely mellow and fluffy carbonation the caresses the tongue. The aftertaste is ripe with sweet spittle running over the tongue and requiring more of the beer to wash away the spittle. Overall, this is a tremendous session beer with some phenomenal Belgian flavors and some nice subtle yeast funk. It’s very nicely balanced, with perhaps only a touch too much sweetness coming through at the start of the beer. This beer is an awesome beer. My one complaint is that as you stick your nose in this beer, the smell gets a little strange, and a tad gross. Other than that this beer is delicious and sessionable. Try it.
(Apologies, this picture is of the beer after the yeast shot was mixed in, so its a little hazier)