Archive for the ‘American Wild Ale’ Category

This morning’s beer is one from Allagash, a brewery that I tend to love.


ABV: 7.7%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Hive 56 is a dark sour ale aged with honey in an oak foudre for eighteen months. The beer is deep mahogany in color with aromas of strawberries, lemon, and tropical fruit; notes of dark chocolate, raspberries, and figs present themselves upon the first sip, followed by a lingering tartness. We brew this beer with a blend of dark Munich malt, chocolate wheat, midnight wheat, and roasted barley, and hop with Cascade and Northern Brewer. Hive 56 undergoes initial fermentation with our house yeast; we then transfer the beer to a foudre with Brettanomyces bruxellensis and fresh honey from our Allagash beehives. Over the course of the next 18 months, the Brettanomyces transforms the honey, resulting in a beer with bold, roasty flavors, and a hint of tropical fruit.”

Random: This beer should be consumed within a year of bottling.

The beer poured with a half a finger of off white head that dissipated slowly. It didn’t leave much lacing on the glass. The body was dark brown in color with no visible carbonation because of the color. The nose was filled with Brett, dark fruit which manifested specifically as cherries and red wine grapes with oak barrels. The taste also had significant Brett notes. I didn’t get tropical fruit, but cherries, dark chocolate and some smoke came through. There was a sweetness from the honey that paired well with the red wine grapes. The alcohol did not make an appearance in the taste. It had a light body with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy and tart and reminded me of a complex Balsamic vinegar. Despite how complicated this beer was, it wasn’t cheap. I paid $16.99 for the bottle, which came to $1.32 per ounce. This is a beer that is worth trying, but pop the bottle open on a special occasion.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

Whenever Val and I watch any house shows, I’m absolutely shocked by home prices outside of the tri-state area. We’re both New York transplants to Jersey, albeit I came to the dark side much earlier than she did, but anywhere outside of this area is so much cheaper. I will say where we are is much cheaper than where Val grew up in Westchester, which is close to where this brewery is.


ABV: 6.5%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We love local Hudson Valley, NY ingredients. And when we buy local, we help ensure a strong future for local products and our community. We’re proud to partner with local farmers and choose fruit crops that are harvested at their peak of freshness and flavor, then fermented in aged oak barrels for a unique and delicious SOUR Ale.”

Random: Val loves strawberries, although my favorite berry is the blackberry.

This beer was corked and caged. When I popped the cork out, it gushed all over my counter and sink. After I cleaned up and got it into the glass, it was nice and agitated. This resulted in a five-finger white head that dissipated slowly. It left a lot of lacing on my Teku glass. The body was hazy orange color with no visible carbonation. The nose was pungent with apricots, strawberries and funk. I didn’t get any oak on the nose. The taste had the funk turned down slightly. It had some toasted oak, vanilla and light strawberry. There was some bready yeast as well, but the flavor was really mild, too much so, in my opinion. The body was watery with light carbonation. It had a quick finish with strawberry and lightly toasted oak. This was an expensive beer at $14.99 for the bottle ($1.18 per ounce). I wanted to love this beer, but the flavors were just too mild for me.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

This was the second beer that I had at the bar to pair with my spicy chicken sandwich. It’s also part of Brooklyn’s special draft only selections.


ABV: 6.5%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Centuries ago when brewers were first learning to wrangle wild yeasts, many came to prize the staid and predictable Saccharomyces yeast that worked such wonders in bread, beer and wine. But Saccharomyces had a cousin that could not be saddled named Brettanomyces, or ‘the British yeast.’ Brett instead made beers that smelled like tropical fruits and horse blankets, imbued with a leathery, earthy funk. This yeast had no interest in being ‘normal.’
Brett gained praise for the extra complexity it brought to the dark porters that built the great breweries of Britain and powered the American Revolution. It lingered in the sour beers of Belgium. But after the 1800s, tastes became mild, and people shied away from Brett’s funky kick. Brewers and winemakers alike banished it back out into the pastures whence it came. Now, Brett comes thundering back home. Our Wild Horse Porter starts off with a full Brett fermentation, which is then finished with a late addition of our house ale yeast. The result is an intriguing, full-bodied beer with a hay-forward funk on the nose preceding flavors of chocolate, coffee, fruit and caramel. We’re riding on the wild side. Are you ready?”

Random: I’m binging on “Jeopardy” as I update the blog. The cats keep getting woken up by me yelling at the tv.

The brew poured with a quarter finger of tan head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown, almost black color, with no visible carbonation. On the nose, I picked up a lot of funk from the Brett and nothing else. This was serious funk and muted any porter notes. The taste was just as much funk as the nose. This was more like a funky foot smell rather than a horse blanket note. It had a red wine characteristic as well, which made this a bit more interesting. At the end of the sip, some smoke and chocolate came through. The body was medium thickness with moderate carbonation. It had a lengthy and funky finish. I wasn’t a fan of this beer. I appreciated that they wanted to highlight the funk, but it needed more flavors for me and not just yeast.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Val took me to the Victory – Kennett Square location when we went to Longwood Gardens for lunch. We grabbed a bottle of this from the gift shop and a few other things. The location is slightly smaller (at least from what I remember) from the Downingtown location, but the food was good and their beer selection was excellent. If you’re in the area, make sure you stop for a beer.


ABV: 9.5%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Sour Monkey puts a tastefully tart twist on our Golden Monkey’s sweet, fruity essence. A sharp, citrus-laden tang makes this brew a Monkey all its own!”

Random: I also had the white wine version of Golden Monkey a few years back at Memphis Taproom.

The beer poured with less than a quarter of a finger of cream-colored head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, bright orange color with little carbonation visible. On the nose, I picked up sourness and cherries. There was also some yeast with a little bit of golden raisins. Oak came through after it warmed for a minute. The taste had some nice tartness, but it wasn’t overwhelming. It had a lemon peel note that quickly went into cherries and yeast. I also got some golden raisin and apricot. The booze didn’t make an appearance despite the high ABV. The beer was very balanced. It had a medium thick body with light carbonation. The finish was lengthy with tartness and golden fruit. A bomber of this was $9.99, which broke down to $.45 per ounce. This was an interesting take on the original beer Golden Monkey and one that I would definitely try again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

I think that brewers taking chances and reimagining old classics is pretty cool, which is why I bought the New Belgium Fat Tire and Friends mixed pack. I’ve already reviewed a few on the blog, so let’s see how this one is.


ABV: 5.6%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “For our new Fat Tire & Friends Collabeeration Pack, we teamed up with Allagash Brewing from Portland, Maine. Who wants the funk? Fat Tire wants the funk. Our New England friends at Allagash brought it, taking Fat Tire back to its Belgian roots with a De Dolle house Belgian yeast strain that adds classic pear, banana and spice to Fat Tire’s malty goodness. They then bottle-conditioned the beer with Brettanomyces Allagagensis for a spicy finish. Get your funk on.”

Random: Every time I see a horse in the winter with a blanket on, it makes me think of a funky beer.

The beer poured with a huge, four finger, off white head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was clear and mahogany colored with light carbonation. The nose was lightly funky with green apples, white grapes and caramel malt. The taste had white grapes up front and less funk than was apparent on the nose. It also had green apple skins and light toasted malt. It had a medium body with moderate carbonation. The finish was lengthy with white grapes and green apples. A bottle of this was $1.42, which broke down to $.12 an ounce. I thought that this was an interesting take on a classic, but I wouldn’t have more than one.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Tonight’s selection is another one from the New Belgium Fat Tire mixed pack. I always think it’s risky making an apple flavored beer since apple can be a mark of an off flavor. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 5.9%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “For our new Fat Tire & Friends Collabeeration Pack, we teamed up with Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) from Portland, Ore. Our heroes at HUB pedaled Fat Tire straight to the apple orchard. This slightly sour homage starts out with a snap of tartness, courtesy of Lactobacillus and apple juice, then gets balanced with Fat Tire-inspired malty sweetness and a slight herbal bitterness. Nice ride, HUB!”

Random: Green apples are my favorite apples.

The brew poured with a two finger, white head. It dissipated at a moderate pace and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was hazy and mahogany colored with moderate carbonation visible. The nose started with caramel malt and then went into green apple juice and mineral water. It had a sour note as well. The taste started with tartness and quickly went into green apple peel and green apple juice. It had a hint of green watermelon rind and grapes. The caramel malt came through at the end. The body was light with high carbonation. It had a lengthy and tart green apple finish. I don’t remember how much I paid for the beer, but I thought this beer was a miss. The tartness didn’t blend well with the sweet malt at the end. I won’t be having this one again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

I have a soft spot in my heart for mixed twelve packs. I saw this one on sale and had to bring it home and see how they reinterpreted Fat Tire, which I first reviewed in 2013. This is the first one that I cracked open.


ABV: 6.2%

Style: American Wild Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “For our new Fat Tire & Friends CollaBEERation Pack, we teamed up with Avery Brewing from Boulder, Colo. Go wild for Fat. Thanks to Boulder’s finest for this unabashedly tropic take on Fat Tire. Avery took a healthy dose of Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Drie to create a Fat Tire spin with a sturdy malt backbone, fruity hop aroma and a tropical pineapple layer. Heed the call of the wild Fat Tire.”

Random: Val is brushing one of the cats and he looks so happy. Who knew cats like brushing so much?

This beer poured with a two finger, cream-colored head that was thick and took awhile to dissipate. It left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was mahogany and clear with a lot of visible carbonation. The nose had some funk to it with white vinegar. It quickly went into caramel malt. The taste also had a vinegar funk to it with green apple. There was some sweetness that followed up with caramel. After a few sips, there was a dark fruit note that I couldn’t quite place. The body was thin with high carbonation. It had a quick finish with caramel malt. I didn’t know exactly what to do with this beer. Once I got to enjoying the tart and funk that it brought, it went into the sweet aspect. Although I appreciated the fact they were trying to do something different with a classic, but this missed the mark.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0