I think what I like about this beer is that it’s next to impossible to describe to a person who doesn’t already drink beer. This is only going to appeal to someone who understands that all wild ales are not the same and will not be repulsed by the adjectives woody and leathery used to describe a beverage.
Is there a way to separate different types of Brettanomyces in beer? Is that language established yet? People say things like “It’s a wild ale brewed with Brett” and they expect certain things out of it. They expect it to be tart and funky, but on what scale, and does it necessarily have to be those characteristics? Beers made with 100% Brett can vary wildly from beers made with multiple yeasts. Anyways. Onto the beer.
Allagash Midnight Brett, 7.3% ABV
Midnight Brett pours a rich, chocolate brown with a lively carbonation, showcasing a small but dense and long-lasting bubbly head.
The aroma sucks you in. It’s like a jar of fruit preserves, with a hint of tartness and a noticeable brett character underneath layers of chocolate, sweet malts, and a musty wood quality. I love the balance of the sweetness and the funk.
Tons of leathery funk. It’s like chewing on a boot, but in the best way. There’s so much happening. I keep wanting to say dark fruits, but it’s not. It’s bright berries, grape juice, cherries. It’s definitely a fruit-forward yeast without a lot of the barnyard funk. There’s huge vinous qualities and a touch of chocolate too. The house yeast does get a bit overpowering at times, but it’s still enjoyable.
The malts have a bit of a wheaty character and the beer finishes out with a light roast. I also picked up on some oak, which is interesting because there was no wood involved, all stainless steel.
The body is smooth and creamy with lactose-qualities. It’s slightly thinner than anticipated, but makes up for it with its big juicy flavors and a good carbonation.
It was really hard to compare this to anything else I’ve ever tried. You think Allagash and brettanomyces and you imagine you’re going to get this big tart beer, but it is not that. It is woody and vinous, funky and fruity.
For food, I imagine this would pair well with any type of rich meat, especially something grilled. An arugula salad would complement the beer’s peppery notes. I can even see this going well with dessert because of its big fruitiness and hints of chocolate.