My Brother’s problems with sour style ales has been long, storied, and well documented, on this blog at least. But I think I learned a little something about his and my taste last year at the Great American Beer Festival. While we are very similar minded on many brews that we like, I think I like sour beers a little more than him. Now I am the first to say that I too would probably pour the La Folie sour from New Belgium down the sink just like Jim did. My palate for sours is quickly challenged and overwhelmed easily. I just don’t get why anyone would like to drink a brew that tasted like a fermented gym sock. You might as well go to your cupboard and pour yourself a glass of Balsamic Vinegar. However used in moderation brettanomyces can add a flavor dimension that adds uniqueness and complexity that can enhance the drinking experience greatly…
I found this out last year at the GABF when Jim and I attended the Pints for Prostates Rare Beer Tasting. I can remember four or five beers that I really liked that Jim could take or leave. None that he’d pour out, but also none that he would seek. I however found myself and my taste buds intrigued. The Dissident falls into this category. I truly loved the wine qualities of this barrel aged ale brewed with brett.
This was a slightly tart beer with many wine-like qualities. It had a sweet tartness that finished clean and dry. Its mouthfeel was more like a sparkling wine than a beer and its nose was full of fruit like pear, grape, and a touch of apple.
The flavor was, in a word, great. While its flavor was light and crisp, it was more full bodied than say a great summer saison. It begins fruity with a gush of grape and pear flavor then mid palate changes and becomes ever so slightly sour and tart, but never bitter. Finally it finishes with a crisp and dry note that leaves the lingering tartness on your tongue. It builds up a little as you drink it, but never becomes overwhelming, it just reminds you every sip of its wonderful complexity and outstanding flavor. I paired this with a flatbread pizza from Brewforia and the heat from the buffalo chicken flatbread combined in a very wonderful way with the crisp tartness of the dissident.
So does this make me the dissident of the blog? Probably not, Jim and I tend to think more alike than in opposition, but it is a place where our tastes differ somewhat. I can’t wait to try my next well crafted and mild sour.