Assemblage No. 1 (Brasserie Dunham)

Style: Blended American Wild Ale

5.5% ABV

From: Dunham, Quebec

Brewery’s Note: “Propolis and our American Pale Ale both aged in Zinfandel barrels with Brettanomyces. Our first iconic assembly [blend?] where the effect of the barrels transcends the two base of beers used here. Fruity flavors, zesty, floral, rustic touches of brett. A big beer thirsty!” –According to Google Translate and me inferring…

The beer pours as “a big thirst” just like Google Translate said. The bottle is a gusher, which makes Dunham two for two in that regard… The beer pours a nice, rouged gold color with a healthy, grainy head of off-white bubbles. The head leaves lovely sticky sheets as it recedes, frothing great masses of foam across the glass’s wall. In body, the beer pours hazy, but clean and clear with no particulate. It’s translucent, but well clouded. On the nose, the beer bursts with a fresh, citrus farmhouse nose akin to the HF strain, or Tired Hand’s Hand farm. Think: Grapefruit flesh, pith, peel, slight pineapple, fresh lemon juice, a trace of lime, some OJ… Actually, the more I smell, the more it smells like a Dry-Hopped American wild, which is just great. Citrus juice all day, with that crisp, smacking minerality behind it that really sings in the nose. There is subtle berry character that moves in the realm of strawberry flesh, and then there is a grassy bitter blanket laying beneath everything else which takes subtle spice notes and really puts a good farmhouse spin on the nose. There’s also a deep meatiness hiding beneath everything else, which I believe is partially from the barrel (some bitter barrel plays in, too) but also from the bretta and malt. I love the smell of this beer. On the tongue, bitter and dry, with a mild acidity that snaps at the start and finish of the beer, while slight, faint grainy sweetness tries to be known in the middle of the sip, alongside some umami (I’m just gonna use that word a lot in my reviews now), and then just a lovely, shivering bitter like a healthy, old school IPA. There’s actually a little salinity coming off this beer, too, which mellowly accents the other tastes. The flavor is dry, dry grapefruit juice with a touch of lemon peel, a nice dose of bitter pith, a sprinkle of salt, and the ghosts of raw grain in the finish and aftertaste alongside herbal grass bitters. This is a dry, acidic, Hoppy American Wild. In the mouth, the beer feels on the light side of medium, with a very attenuated and snappy body that froths with a higher carb. The bitters quench and snap the tongue, but don’t leave much astringency, instead leaving an herbal bitter resin and a slick sheen on the tongue. The beer feels crisp, yet fluffy, dry and very drinkable. Overall, this isn’t quite what I thought it would be, and does fall in line with the other Dunham beer in terms of flavor profile. It’s a bitter American Wild Ale, and it does a great job at being that. Pithy, herbal, and coated with some farmhouse rusticity and mild acidity, it is very drinkable, but its dryness begs to have some food put with it. Dunham has got some really nice stuff coming out, with a great hoppy farmhouse twist. Their farmhouse profile are exactly what I want, but I’d love to try something that was more yeast and bacteria forward. I do notice that soapiness enters into the sip as the beer warms, which takes away from the nice flavors of the beer. In the end, I’m not as wild about this as I am about Biere Sauvage Saison Reserve, but it is still well made and tasty. Don’t turn down a glass.


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