Kettle Soured American Farmhouse Ale
From: Chelsea, MA
The beer pours out like fizzy lemonade. It’s chalky-white and yellow, with a huge, crackling head of creamy, eggshell-white bubbles that froth and hiss and recede to rocky mountainscapes in the glass. These mountainscapes leave fluffy tendrils of swirling, smoke-like lacing on the sides of the glass. It is a frothy and beautiful cup of beer. The body of the beer is a cloudy haze, nearly opaque despite its clear white coloring. This looks like a Berliner to me, only this holds a better head than most of the American Berliner’s I’ve seen. On the nose, the beer is right on point with that dry-hopped sour citrus juice explosion. Faint lemon pledge gives way to huge lemon and lime zest alongside spicy mango fruit, bursts of guava and a little pineapple juice, and then the lovely turn of fresh grapefruit juice. There is an herbal minerality to the nose that doesn’t quite hit the pool water I normally get from this style, but instead takes subtle brackish turns on the nostrils while swirling the rich citrus character to suggest lemon juice on a steel sheet of metal. There are lovely, complex, and juicy smells in this beer, this one falls right between the juiciness of the Funky Gold’s of Prairie and the herbal dank juice of Deciduous’ Sepal. It’s got a lovely nose, but I’m a sucker for the style. On the tongue, the beer tastes soft yet hugely citric tart. It is never a pucker inducer, but does nip quite strongly at the tongue right from the get go, bringing waves of citric acidity alongside softer lactic chalky acidity that really grimes at the teeth. The acidity, while the key player, is also nicely balanced by a soft lemon-lime sweetness that manages a touch of doughy bread in the finish, along with a healthier touch of the brackish pool water that rolls earthy minerality with a finishing flourish of soft spice and pepper. In the finish, I also get a light, light bitter nuance of juicy citrus hops, which is nice. The flavor is tart, fresh squeezed lemonade with mineral water nuanced with a light splash of spicy witbier. It is delicious, and in the mouth it feels soft, almost creamy, and light in body. The drinkability is massive, and the carb is perfectly in tune with the beer, carrying a medium high intensity that doesn’t step on the flavor at all, but just lets it unfurl on the tongue. When the beer leaves, the mouth feels dry and slightly puckered, with a tightness coming over the tongue as the cheek pouches try to push out spittle to hose down the grimy gums and teeth. By the end of the glass, my teeth have begun to ache a little from the pH drop. Overall, I could drink this for days. Hoppy lemonade comes to mind, but this has got a huge minerality to its taste that really comes out to play as you drink it more, and that veers away from most lemonades I’ve imbibed. This is perfect for long summer nights of drinking, and it continues Mystic’s streak of just delicious ales with a farmhouse twist. This is very much in the “dry-hopped Berliner Weisse” style, which is basically the same thing as a “dry-hopped American Wild Ale,” which is a style that I have really been enjoying as it has become more prevalent over the past four years. Go get a bottle while you can.