This segment of Tasting Notes takes me back home to Alabama with a sensory experience exploring Brettanomyces Fermented IPA from Blue Pants Brewery (Madison, Alabama).
Earlier this year, the brewers at Blue Pants started experimenting with wild yeast to produce a couple limited release beers featuring Brettanomyces. Brettanomyces Fermented IPA – along with Brettanomyces Fermented Pinstripe Stout – was the result of this professional curiosity and dabbling. For this offering, the folks at the brewery laid an India Pale Ale foundation that is supported by “whole leaf Amarillo, Mandarina Bavaria, and Citra” hops. A “custom Brettanomyces blend” was then utilized during fermentation to bring the funk and some unique stone fruit characteristics. This treatment produces a “dry, subtly funky, moderately fruity, and very citrusy IPA” that can be enjoyed fresh or properly aged. This 6.5% ABV, Wild IPA is a limited release that is brewed infrequently. When it is available, you can find this offering on draft and in 750 ml bottles. All this research to cover the background on Brettanomyces Fermented IPA has me eager and excited to finally get a taste. Let’s get to those Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes on Brettanomyces Fermented IPA from Blue Pants Brewery
Appearance: A gentle tilt of the 750ml bottle provides me with a deep golden colored body with a touch of orange pushing through at the wider portion of the glass’s bulb. Held to direct light, the yellows really intensify to the level of positively glowing. The body is perfectly clear with an abundant carbonation level coursing throughout (Note: later pours do cloud up a bit due to the yeast sediment residing in the bottle). The careful pour still produced a huge, fluffy white head that clocks in at over three and a half fingers. Head retention is spectacular, with the level of foam only falling due to the huge amount of lace coating the glass. Absolutely gorgeous.
Aroma: At first glance and sniff, you are going to be convinced this is just a beautiful, wild Saison/Farmhouse Ale. The Brett presence is massive with notes of barnyard funk, hay and wet wood permeating the air. Peach and other stone fruit characteristics wrap around that Brett funk to provide a bit of sweet freshness. A bit of citrus and tropical fruit comes forward with orange, mango and pineapple developing. The malts are mostly lost behind all that funk, but a waft of grain can be identified from time to time.
Taste: The Brett certainly shines here as well. Wet hay, dusty barn wood and musty funk are all present and accounted for. The hops kick in with some juicy notes of peach, mango and a fruit bowl of citrus. There is a snappy bite of resinous pine that takes a grip from time to time as well. With that said, the funk definitely trumps all and casts a long shadow over any malt presence. As billed, this beer is not at all shy with the Brett and I find the flavor profile to be absolutely beautiful.
Mouthfeel: This beer is on the lighter side of medium in body with a crisp carbonation level to keep things easy drinking. The ABV is respectable at 6.5%, but it is completely disguised and makes zero attempt to attract any attention. Funky and lightly bitter on the palate. This brew dries out nicely and has a lovely easy-drinking nature to it. Any aftertaste that remains is all barnyard funk.
Final Thoughts: Full disclosure – I am a huge fan of any and every beer that utilizes Brett correctly, and Blue Pants Brewery’s Brettanomyces Fermented IPA absolutely fits that bill. Instead of phoning this one in with an IPA that hides behind its hops and has just a pinch of Brett character, the folks at the brewery went all in to properly give this yeast the respect and stage it deserves. Brett can handle and complement hops with graceful ease, and that is displayed wonderfully with this offering by living up to its label description of “Hoppy, Juicy, Funky.” This is just another fantastic brew from Blue Pants and a true accomplishment in brewing craftsmanship. Prost!