Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
St. Bretta Citrus Wildbier
My bottle of Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project St. Bretta Citrus Wildbier (5.5% alcohol by volume) is 3 years old, which for a Wild Specialty Beer brewed with Brettanomyces can be a good thing. I'm excited. Crooked Stave founder Chad Yakobson is a magician with barrels and Brettanomyces yeast. He wrote his dissertation on Brettanomyces for an MSc. degree in Brewing and Distilling from the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling located at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland and his mastery shows in this beer. At age 3 the beer has a well developed Brettanomyces aroma of wet horse blanket, barnyard, wet wool socks, citrus, fruit, pear, and over ripe fruit. A hint of wet diaper and trace of tobacco lie in the background but they fit. The funk leads the aroma closely followed by the fruit. The brilliant gold pour produces a massive, pillowy, persistent white foam collar that leaves thick lace. Streams of bubbles race to the surface. The fruit hits the tongue first, highlighted by citrus, pear, pomme fruit, over ripe fruit and pineapple. While the funk leads, a mellow tartness provides support and character. A very light sweetness underlies the fruit flavors before the very dry finish. Every sip and sniff brings out a different aspect of the fruit as different fruit and different degrees of ripeness come forward. Hop flavor is low and hop bitterness is medium low. This is a very creamy, yet soft Brettanomyces carbonation with an airy, mousse-like texture. The boundary line between foam and body is very thin. The beer is light with a touch of astringency hinting at oak on the finish. This very well crafted beer is a joy to drink and has me craving a baguette and a chunk of runny Epoisse to eat with it. A Cato Hooligan would also pair nicely. I rate St. Bretta Citrus Wildbier 91.