Style: American Brett aged on Raspberries
From: Dover, NH
Brewery’s Note: “One of our summer favorites, this refreshingly crisp wild ale is brewed with Belgian Pale Ales [Malt?], wheat, and Sorachi Ace hops. It is 100% fermented with one of our favorite Brett strains, then aged on raspnerries. This brew is an experience not to be missed on a hot day or a warm summer’s nigh!”
About the Series of beers: “
Experimental, 100% Brettanomyces Fermented Beers – Our 100% Brettanomyces beer series will be unique to the local area. Gabe became interested in Brett beers early in his brewing career. We have experienced the many flavors that are found in Brett beers, and introducing, brewing and sharing Brett beers is something we are excited to do. We hope people will enjoy them as much as we do!”
The beer pours a muddy, amber/rouge color, like amber grapefruit juice, or unfiltered New England cider. The beer forms a small head of eggshell-white bubbles, but these quickly fade away to leave a timid ring and a languid-looking top to the beer. When splashed on the glass’s sides, a thick, shimmering stain of legs oozes up, despite the beer’s lesser ABV. The body of the beer is murky and turbid, full of the raspberry flesh and tannic girth. It’s opaque like swamp water, and a little ugly in the glass, but has some charm to its look. On the nose, however, the beer is a beautiful creature. Raspberry sorbet mixes with raspberry lemonade, with a touch of brackish pool water. The brett integrates into the raspberries nicely, pushing out touches of hay, subtle tropical fruit, crushed ice, and subtle musty scents. This smells lovely and balanced. The beer ain’t a fruit bomb, but brett didn’t dominate it either… On tongue, the beer is restrained and crisp, showing acidity with touches of chalky tartness. Soft wheat malt sweetness moves through the middle, but dries on the finish with berry-skin tannic bitters and a good deal of herbal hop bitters drying out the tongue. The berry acidity lingers, leaving loving lashes of raspberry sorbet. A soft earthy brackishness lingers in the finish and aftertaste, adding nice complexity to the sip. In the mouth, the beer feels crisp, effervescent, yet languid. It pricks and nips with bright acidity, yet the carb is low. I tried this on draft for the release, and I feel like the draft version had a bit more of a carbonated snap to it. As is, the beer is lovely and complex, but could be even better with more carb to enliven the sip (I suspect these were bottle conditioned, and that this beer will have just that in a couple months’ time). When the beer leaves, the mouth is left lightly wet, but the acidity of this beer is never bracing, and this works perfectly as a starter sourer for a newer drinker. (Minor rant: I hate saying “starter sour/wild” because I feel like I am demeaning the beer, which is not my purpose at all. There are countless beautiful tart and funky beers that could fall into the “starter sour/wild” category, simply because they don’t have the higher level of acidity that some in the style(s) demonstrate. Without the heavier flavor, these beers appear less harsh to newer drinkers, and thus more approachable, yet no less complex, delicious, nor superbly made. When I say starter sour, I mean as a starter for someone that is unaccustomed to the intensity of the modern “sour/wild ale,” and will therefore be able to appreciate and enjoy, no matter if they dislike the more intense “sour/wilds” or not – end rant.) The mouth is left clean, yet wet and balanced, with a slight bright ‘iciness’ from the fresh raspberry tartness. Overall, this beer has a lovely amount of tartness for a 100% brett fermentation (I assume that is from the raspberries). This has tons of subtle flavors and tastes, and I am excited to see how the bottles develop with age. I did prefer the draft version a touch more, if only because the livelier carbonation really helped to brighten up the sip and will make this a summer crusher for sure. Being that this is their first bottled beer (not to mention a brett bottled beer, which has its own complexities), this is superb and delicious. I’m very excited to see different variants on this recipe, as it seems to be one that is infinitely riff-able. I’ve been consistently impressed with what Garrison City Beerworks is putting out, and this just continues to raise them up to higher and higher pedestals for me. They are making leaps and bounds for NH beer and it is great. Keep on putting out phenomenal stuff. I will certainly keep buying.