St. Bretta Autumn 100% Brettanomyces Citrus Wildbier (Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project)

Style: Brett Witbier / American Wild Ale w/Navel Oranges

5.5% ABV

2014/Batch 5

Brewery’s Note: “St. Bretta is our 100% Brettanomyces Whitebier that was just released this week! Not only is St. Bretta an evolution of Wild Wild Brett Orange, but also it will be ever-changing depending on the fresh citrus available that season. For our spring release we decided to brew St. Bretta with fresh Minneola Tangelo. Each seasonal release of St. Bretta will have a diverse range of citrus fruit added to keep the beer fresh and exciting (the summer release was brewed with blood oranges)!”

The beer pours a dirty, yellow gold with bronze and orange accents. It forms a withering head that never really forms in the glass, and leaves as soon as the beer is poured. The beer is clear and clean in body, yet cloudy and slightly opaque. It doesn’t look that great in the glass. On the nose, the first smell I get is sort of like burnt rubber and movie theater popcorn. This is backed up by subtle hints of chalky lemons, orange fruit, citrus zest, and just a touch of pineapple and cherry fruit leather. Despite the red flags, the nose is not all together displeasing, it just seems a little disjointed. On the tongue, the beer is bright with surprising acidity, which puts a healthy, but still lighter pucker to the tongue. Below the acidity is a subtle, drying citrus sweetness, a touch of earthy metal, and very soft earthy oak barrel in the finish and aftertaste. The flavor is dominated by bright citrus, which does wonders on covering up the lackluster nose of the beer, there is loads of citrus juice in the flavor, which apparently is Navel Orange. There is a little bit of the burnt rubber, though it is overpowered by the bright citrus and the popcorn is thankfully completely hidden on the tongue except in the subtle aftertaste nuances. In the mouth, the beer feels medium bodied and coarse with a spritzy tingle, a middling pucker, and a nice snap. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left dry with soft pools in the extreme reaches. Some tightness wiggles across the tongue, and a lingering brightness does dance there, too. Overall, this is an odd duck and probably my least favorite of Crooked Stave’s thus far. That’s not to say that it is a bad beer by any measure, though the nose displays some uglier nuances. The flavors are all muted beside the rich acidity, which helps too up the drinkability and keep the beer bright in the mouth, despite some more off-putting flavor components. It’s not awful, but Crooked Stave has put out beers that are light years ahead of this one. Meh.


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