Style: American Wild Ale aged in Wine Barrels with Sauvignon Blanc grape must
Bottled on: 6/4/14
Brewery’s Note: “A sparkling golden ale fermented in wine barrels with sauvignon blanc grape must and a blend of wild yeast strains.”
The beer pours a copperish orange with a soda-pop head of bubbles. A scrim fizzles thinly around the edges of the glass. In body, the beer is a cloudy, opaque orange with subtle hints of the other side of the glass. When splashed against the sides of the glass, a very slick pair of legs slides up and down. On the nose, the beer smells thickly of lightly toasted oak, beneath which lies a touch of vinous grape, slight fusel alcohol, and subtle strawberry. On the tongue the beer is sharply tart with a balancing blast of fruity sweetness. By the middle and end of the sip bitter tannin comes in and dries out the mouth like a desert. Slight earthiness also dances in on the dry finish of the beer. In flavor, the beer begins as sharp chardonnay, mixed with a healthy dose of toasted oak, which stays on the tongue well after the finish. With the middle and finish comes fresh strawberry jam with touches of light horse blanket and dry grass. In the mouth, the beer feels medium bodied with a middling carbonation that provides a nice prickle. Mouthfeel is sharp, yet slightly gelling, with that distinctive, dirty Night Shift wild ale feel but with a dryer spin that cleans it up. The finish is long and dry with oak, leaving the mouth sticky dry, with a fine sheen running over the tongue. Overall, I enjoy this dry sipper quite a lot. It carries lots of subtlety, and unravels into more complexity as it opens up. It disappoints as far as the Sauvignon Blanc character goes (I’m a fan of those New Zealand blancs), and definitely carries more of a chardonnay character with the heavy oak and dryness that really coats the tongue. The nose is overpowered by the oak, in the beginning, and as far as sour goes, this beer is lacking character, especially since much of the funky brett is hidden beneath the vinous character, but I’m still a fan over all. Dry, vinous and interesting, definitely worth a taste and worthy of aging.