Our “friend” Grant brought a couple of interesting beers for us to sample the other night. He is a real beer “freek” & really has a passion for interesting beers from around the world. Here is what he graciously shared with us.
Ithaca Beer Co. Excelsior Brute
Here is a beer project, founded in 1998 whose goal was to feature “the spirit of the Finger Lakes” via beer rather than wine. On this night, we sampled their Brute, which is a Golden Sour Ale, produced from American barley, wheat, corn & local hops….fermented in oak (in this case for 4 months) with Brettanomyces & then finished with 3 different Champagne yeast.
I am not sure Sour beers are for everyone…..nor those using Brettanomyces for that matter. The vivacious tartness is however quite refreshing & uplifting & the Brett adds real uniqueness & interesting-ness to the beer, just as one sees in some of the traditional, regional, rustic “country” wines of the Mediterranean basin.
I am not so sure I would buy such a beer again (I am admittedly a winer, not a full on beer enthusiast) ….BUT it sure was fun to try!
Drie Fonteinen Schaerbeekse Kriek (bottled 10/17/08)
Now here is a beer I would buy, eventhough it must be hard to get & I am sure pricey….it is that good!
Drie Fonteinen is located in Beersel, Belgium near Brussels, founded in 1887. They specialize in some of the very finest, classic lambic beers. Schaerbeekse Kriek is a sour & dry, Belgian lambic beer, spontaneously fermented with an increasingly rare (at least in terms of supply), wild, small, firm fleshed, sour Morello cherry (the best include the pits as well).
I REALLY liked this sour beer! It had something extra besides fruitiness & the unique character. Soul….would be a good way of putting it. It additionally has compelling aromatics (where the fruit aromas are not overdone), great flow & balance on the palate & a long, long finish. Certainly one of the best beers I’ve had!