Style: Wheat Lager aged with a mixed culture/Wild Lager
OG: 11.8 Plato
From: Framingham, MA
Brewer’s Note: “We aged last year’s Leisure Time Lager in wine barrels with wild yeast and souring organisms. Through this process, the beer was transformed creating a lightly tart, funky and dry beer. Prost!”
The beer’s label is the classic Jack’s Abby label with a nice gradient of color in the background moving from a teal-ish green to more of a lime green. I’ve said too much about Jack’s Abby’s standard label already so go read my other Jack’s Abby reviews if you want my varying opinion on it.
The beer pours a very pale and cloudy yellow with a nice little head of tiny, smooth, white bubbles that fizzle away to a light scrim, leaving a sheeted lacing of simple bubbles. In body, the beer is properly hazy with a protein haze and a nice stream of bubbles running up the middle of the glass. Very little of the other side of the glass is visible. This beer is not as pretty as its Leisure Time brother, but that is to be expected with aging. On the nose, the beer smells of good old funky Brettanomyces with layers of citric lemon, barnyard, and light wheat malt melding together. Lemongrass-like funk is the big player on the nose, and it is beautiful and complex while remaining complex and refreshing. On the tongue, the beer tastes tartly acidic like a Berliner weisse with a great, medium pucker to the mouth. There is some nice sweetness in the end of the sip from the wheat malt, but the main player in this beer is the refreshingly citric pucker. In flavor, the beer begins as crisp, citric lemon that is very bright on the tongue. This transitions to gentle horse blanket and fruit leather flavors from the brett as it passes over the middle palate, and then crescendos with a tart, lemongrass and chalky barnyard finish. The aftertaste is chalky lemongrass and light wheat malts. This tastes like summer. In the mouth, the beer feels crisp, and medium in body with a fiercer carbonation that fizzles on the tongue, but does not fatigue it. The mouth is left damp trying to control the acids in the beer, and a little chalky as well. Overall this is one hell of a refreshing beer. It at times reminds me of a less funky lambic, which is awesome. I hope that Jack’s Abby continues this one year after year, and eventually starts blending these together… That would be amazing! Lager Gueuze! You need to try this beer.
For fun, I tried pairing this beer with a fresh caprese sandwich made by my beautiful girlfriend. The sandwich was made with basil from my garden, fresh pesto, mozzarella from the store, and tomatoes, all on an asiago foccacia bread I bought at Market Basket. On its own, the sandwich was fresh and salty, blending herbal basil with the umami of the mozzarella and the fresh fruit/vegetable flavors of the tomato. The bread provides a nice light, yeasty blanket mingling rich asiago cheese with breadier flavors. With the beer, the bright acid of the beer mellows the bread of the sandwich and brings the fresh vegetables and mozzarella to the forefront of the tastes buds, blanketing it all with sticky pesto. Meanwhile, the fat of the sandwich cuts down on the acidity of the beer and brings out the fresh citric flavors, letting the lemon sing alongside the sandwich. The pairing is not a perfect match, but it is a pleasant one that I would recommend playing around with. I was surprised to find that the acid in the beer and the strong basil flavor played very well together, mellowing each other down and creating a nice harmony. This is a pairing worthy of a try.