My third beer during Farmhouse Week is a beer I picked up during my May trip to beer Mecca, Portland. In a place like that you can likely imagine when you only have room for a handful of beer in your suitcase how hard it is to figure out what to choose to bring home. Luckily one of my choices was Mount Hood’s Logsdon Farmhouse Organic Ales’ Seizoen Bretta, their regular Saison spiked with Brettanomyces.
I was originally planning on letting this beer sit for a year or two to allow the Brett to keep working on it. But when I found myself trying a bunch of other saisons a few days apart, I thought I might as well crack it open (plus my cellar is bursting at the seams, proving I have something of a store-it-but-never-drink-it problem).
I can say that I am not sorry I cut its life short.
It is a very hazy, light gold beer that builds a thick, consistent white head with moderate lacing. It shows itself to be very effervescent. The aroma first shows up with yeasty spicing, some honey-like malt sweetness and a rough, earthy character. There is a mustiness there, but in the aroma it lingers in the background.
The front of the taste is relatively traditional, offering a dry saison character. It has some sweetness but is mostly crisp and spicy, with pepper and an accent of tart fruit. The middle has a slightly greasy, silky feel. It is in the back end and the linger where the Brett shows itself. Musty, earthy and sweaty, it is unavoidable but does not overtake the other flavours. The Brett builds in the aftertaste. The linger is yeast spiciness, hay, and musty barn. I find myself wondering if there is a bit of umami character to the beer. Who knows?
This is a beer that shows what you can do with Brett, how to offer another dimension without trashing the other flavour elements. There is no question Brett has shifted and changed this beer – I wish I had also brought home their regular saison – yet it does not lose its dry, refreshing saison character. Clearly well crafted, interesting and original. It may offer too much to be a beer to drink after mowing the lawn (something most saisons can do), but I don’t regret hauling it across the border by any stretch.
OV: Well crafted, interesting and showing brett without being too overpowering. Not sure I would have a second, as the mustiness does get palate exhausting by the end.