Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Belgium and Lost Abbey - Brett Beer

The exponential growth of craft beer has lead to many developments within the industry, most notably the teamwork of breweries to create and brew collaborative recipes. These partnerships have created a subtle division amongst craft beer enthusiasts, those who loathe the anticipation and hype of these collaboration beers, versus those who can't wait for their favorite two breweries to make their perfect beer. As for myself, I straddle this line because my exposure to these corporative efforts has been minimal. To gain exposure to these beers, I was very happy to indulge and pick up a bottle of, Brett Beer, which brings together the brewing minds of New Belgium and Lost Abbey.
After a very delicate pour, trying not to disturb the yeast settlement on the bottom of the bottle, the beer was  golden-straw colored, but still had many "floaties" creating a sense of murkiness. There was a very light and airy head that reached one-finger height. The height did not last long, quickly subsiding leaving a thin film of very small bubbles across the surface of the beer with no lacings.
The aroma of this beer was very difficult for me discern. After multiple sniffs and the assistance of my wife (yes, I really struggled with this beer and she has an excellent palate) we were able to delicate a slight spiciness along with an apple quality. We let the beer sit for a moment and then agitated it. This re-swirling allowed Emily to detect an earthy characteristic not present earlier in our review. I think the inoculation of Brettanomyces is responsible for this herbal component.
The taste profile of this beer mimicked the aroma. The apple entered the taste first followed immediately  by a quick and subtle earthiness. This beer is quite sweet, not cloying, but this sweetness was unexpected because I thought the Brettanomyces would create a dry, funky finish; it did neither. This beer lacked any true finish and Brett character. It is possible that this beer was sampled to young, not allowing the funkiness from the Brett to develop, maximizing its flavor.
The mouthfeel was very light. It was reminiscent of a very light Belgian Pale with little carbonation.
The collaborative efforts of New Belgium and Lost Abbey did not coalesce on this particular project. The name, Brett Beer, was alluring and I fell for the hype, however the hype was not matched by the quality of the beer. With that being said, I look forward to trying more collaborative beers as craft breweries continue to work together to spread the good word: NO CRAP BEER!


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