Wheat Is The New Hops (Chardonnay Barrel Aged) (Grassroots/Mikkeller)

Style: American Farmhouse IPA fermented with Brettanomyces and aged in Chardonnay Barrels

6.0% ABV

Brewery’s Note (for none barrel-aged version): “Brewed at Hill Farmstead Brewery, this hoppy American wheat ale is fermented with Brettanomyces and dry hopped with our favorite citrusy hops./ The creative spirit of Grassroots Brewing and the adventurous soul of Mikkeller collaborate for a farmstead interpretation of this recipe.”

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The label is fairly standard for Mikkeller, displaying their quirky, slightly bubbled fonts and a small graphic of a hat with a wheat stalk in it. The color scheme of yellow and orange is a little dulled, which hurts the labels eye-appeal a little. In the end, I want more information from the label than is provided, which often happens with Mikeller labels and me.

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The beer pours a bright, lemony yellow with hints of gold and straw. The beer forms a nice big head of rocky, eggshell white bubbles that sit about a half finger’s width above the glass. When the head leaves, the glass is left with a fluffy roadway of lacing. In body, the beer is hazy, but clear and bright, allowing for a nice translucence in the beer. Carbonation is quite prevalent in the body, with lots of little bubbles racing up in syncopated beat. On the nose, this beer is a beautiful barnyard of brett. Scratchy horse blanket is so thick in the nose that for a moment I thought it was skunked. In between the prickly blanket can be found oozing pineapple, chardonnay, oak, mango, grass, fresh barnyard, slight cherry, leather, and even slight pine, but that funky blanket is really dominant in the nose to me, and it is quite pleasing. The subtlety of the nose is really where the craftsmanship of this beer shines. Sure, this is a barnyard bomb on the nose, but it is beautifully balanced and delicious smelling without any of the possible pitfalls that some wild ales suffer. On the tongue, the beer tastes wonderfully balanced. Funky acidity blends with herbal, grassy hop bitters, subtle oak tannin, soft malt sweetness, and even softer earthy salinity. Balance is beautiful in this beer, and the finish is dry and refreshing. In flavor, it begins as sweaty horse blanket and fruity pineapples, this unfurls into rich herbal bitters, soft tropical fruits, leather, and grass. The finish is a blend of tannic oak, an earthy minerality, funky barnyard, and pineapple. The aftertaste is a clean wash of tropical fruit. In the mouth, the beer feels medium bodied, with a clean, crisp mouthfeel that only gels slightly on the tongue, and a higher carbonation that gives the tongue a strong scrub. After the beer leaves, the mouth is left slightly tingly from the higher carbonation, with a slight resinous feel sticking over the tongue, and definite saliva in the curvature of the lower teeth. Overall, I love this beer. An amazing nose delivers a refreshing and complex drink that blends lots of different flavors over the tongue.  Grass Roots is Hill Farmstead, and Hill Farmstead is amazing. Mikeller is just Mikeller. This doesn’t quite have the mouthfeel of other HF beers I’ve had, but it has that crispness and freshness, which is enough for me (plus the nose is funkily amazing). I love how I get some of my favorite parts of an IPA, and some of my favorite parts of a brett beer. The barrel is light here, but that is exactly how it should be. This is a superb beer.

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