Sepal (Deciduous Brewing Company)
Style: Dry-Hopped Mixed Fermentation Grisette
From: Newmarket, NH
Brewery’s Note: “Our interpretation of a 4.2%abv Australian dry hopped, table Brett Grisette. Primarily fermented with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, heavily dry hopped for the style, then spiked at bottling with our house bacterial culture for a little tartness and bottle evolution./ “Sepals typically function as protection for the flowering bud, and often as support for the petals when in bloom. We hope you enjoy our protector in these early days.””
The beer pours out like white grapefruit juice –pulp and all. It is chalky yellow with some lime green tinges. A huge head of eggshell-white, slightly soapy bubbles forms an elegant chapeau above the beer and then dwindles down to a quarter fingers-width. The head leaves thin, drizzly strands of lacing along with slick, thinner sheeting. The beer’s body is a cloud of obscuring particulate and opacity, leaving the beer looking remarkably like fruit juice. I like the look of this sucker. On the nose, the beer smells like tropical juice. It is reminiscent of Prairie’s Funky Gold Amarillo and Mosaic, but with more of a musk to the bottom of the scent that dips dankly towards earth and a touch of cheese rind. It has something reminiscent of Deciduous’s Cumulation Dry-hopped Gose. Pink grapefruit juice is steeped with some scallions and weed, with a lingering kiss of sweaty gym socks and rotting pineapple (not in a bad way, though it is very funky and on the verge of off-putting). There is a touch of pool water, but it is not as dominant as I’ve found in other hoppy bretts/wilds. On the tongue, the beer is light and crisp, beginning and ending with soft citric tartness reminiscent of concentrated OJ, this mixes with earthy chalk, tropical fruit juice sweetness, and is fringed with herbal bitters that give way to touches of pine and citrus bitters, as well as funky sweet cheese with a touch of brine. There is weed and scallions mixing among fresh grapefruit juice, perhaps with a touch of funky pineapple juice, and a touch too much cheese/earthy dankness. It tastes superb, and more so of delicious hoppy beer than fruit juice, as far as the spectrum of hoppy wilds goes. In the mouth, the beer is light and effervescent with a cool and crisp snap. The finish is dry with a very, very gentle astringency that lets you know the hops were there more so than some of the other hoppy wilds, yet still with a lovely balance of fruit juice smoothness to it. The drinkability is massive, especially with the dry finish, though the funky earth/cheese does hold this back from being “crushable juice.” Overall, this is delicious, complex, and a superb step for Deciduous’ bottling program. The cheese/earth is a touch too much for my taste, but I still thoroughly enjoyed drinking this, and would again in a heartbeat. This is close to Prairie and Wicked Weed’s offerings, Dorothy, too. Hops and funk has long been prophesied as the next “Big thing in Craft Beer,” and Deciduous is adding an earthy touch to that game with Sepal, which I am completely game for. Well done Deciduous folks. More of these, please!