Brett Conspiracy (Cambridge Brewing Company)

Style: Barrel Fermented American Wild Ale

5.75% ABV

OG: 1.050 | FG: 1.006

From: Cambridge, MA

Brewery’s Note: “First brewed in honor of our 26th Anniversary! It features barrel fermentation and a bit of mystery from three unique yeast strains: Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Brettanomyces custercianus, and Brettanomyces bruxellensis trois. The S. cerevisiae is a well-known saison strain from Wallonia offering a spicy and dry palate. The Brett. C contributes bright floral and tropical fruit notes. The Brett. brux. trois offers its own fruit and spice and funk, and it’s this strain which set fermentation scientists around the world all a-twitter in early 2015./ While long identified as Brett, given its shape, size, and budding behavior under a microscope – as well as the unique Bretty profile it contributes to a beer, recent genetic sequencing has shown that this Brett is really a Sacch! The debate raged all winter, with White Labs, Omega Yeast Labs, and many other brewers and scientists eager to find out whether this little bugger had been pulling a fast one. Where microscopy yielded mixed results, ribosomal sequencing and cycloheximide tests all positively identified this yeast as close to Saccharomyces cerevisiae but also divergent from it. So this could be a unique substrain or even a unique species./ Ok, less a conspiracy than a masquerade, we as brewers were still captivated by the news that we had been mistaken in the identification of one of our favorite strains. While it does not affect the manner in which we utilize Sacch. trois in our beers, we are always grateful to be reminded that there is so much we do not know about our craft./ The Brett Conspiracy was brewed with Pils and Vienna malt, flaked oats, raw wheat and buckwheat. Five months of mixed yeast fermentation in oak yields a floral and fruity beer with notes of pineapple and guava, further accented by light dryhopping with Mosaic and Falconer’s Flight hops. Clean cereal grains, tropical notes, and a super dry finish. We hope you enjoy it!”

The beer pours a radiant copper gold color with a large head of slightly off-white, tiny bubbles that are constantly replenished by a torrent of bubbles. As the head slowly recedes, it leaves a bowl and puffy torrents of lacing running up the sides of the glass in thicker tendrils. The beer’s body is clean and clear, yet the other side is only faintly visible, and the beer’s coloring is gorgeous and the head is perfectly formed. This one is a looker. On the nose, the beer gushes fruity bretta. Loads of pineapple and Anjou pear juice play with dragon fruit, lovely and spicy grass with just a touch of booze spice, melon rind, just the faintest trace of barnyard, and dry oak sugars all nestled against the nose. There is a little bit of stale pine boards in the nose to add subtle, woody nuance, and a definite creaminess to the fruit, but really this is fruity yeast bomb in the bretta strain. Not too sweet, but very expressive. On the tongue, the beer tastes semi-dry cider sweet, with just a touch of cidery acidity, which swirls into stronger funk and fruit sweetness with bitter undertones of pine, citrus pith, and herbal grass. There is something like dry bread with a touch of crust beneath the funk, and this swirls into a lovely, creamy finish that is reminiscent of a creamsicle to me, though nuanced with bitter tea, grass, and a touch of barrel. There is a minty freshness in the aftertaste, which is lovely, and a dry woodiness on the back palate encourages further sipping. The fruit begins with mango and pineapple, and stays predominantly tropical, moving slightly towards lemongrass at times. As I sip more, I start to notice a build-up of fruity-dank hops which I associate with Mosaic. It’s not oniony, but does have a bit of a sticky mouthfeel that I associate with the oniony takes on Mosaic. In short, the flavor is tropical fruit and cider with mint, wood slats, and faintly-dank Mosaic hops. Delicious, restrained, and yet full of flavor, this bottle seems very representative of the barrel cellar that CBC has long been cultivating, and which is (in this humble blogger’s opinion) one of the best barrel cellars in American craft beer. In the mouth, the beer feels medium bodied, creamy, and smooth. Carbonation is middling, and while it mostly provides a fluff to the tongue, and it does turn to a slight snap and crackle towards the finish as it works alongside the bitters of the beer. When the beer leaves, the mouth feels dry and sticky. This builds more and more towards ‘IPA-mouth’ stickiness, but never fully reaches that level as the fresh acidity and mintiness seem to help keep it mostly in check. Still, the tongue is sticky and slickened with lots of saliva on the edges while the roof of the mouth feels dry and a bitter resin lingers on the tongues edge. Overall, this is beautiful and restrained, yet bursting with flavor. Tropical bretta bomb with a hop-juice finish. I love the CBC and am so glad to see some of their wilds starting to hit bottles. Now if they can just put Cerise Cassee in bottles… This beer is a great example of a mixed ferm expression of tropical bretta/sacch flavors. For the price point, this cannot be beaten, and honestly, it beats quite a lot that is pricier.

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