New Belgium and Lost Abbey Brett Beer: Maybe Less Bretta Betta?

Next up, New Belgium and Lost Abbey Brett Beer:

It’s late, and I couldn’t finish my Carly Rae Jepson parody video compiled from clips of Leonard Part 6. So I’ll go with a written post as a backup. Disappointing, I know.

Not as disappointing as an ’80s Bill Cosby workout montage.

This wild ale is a collaboration between New Belgium and Lost Abbey. Lost Abbey doesn’t really distribute here, but both breweries are doing some cool stuff with wild ales. So I was excited to try this. As a side note: I think this beer is supposed to be a resurrection of Lost Abbey’s Mo’ Betta Bretta (which I have never had).

As the name suggests, Brett Beer is 100 percent fermented with Brettanomyces. This is a little different, as more often Brettanomyces are thrown in after the “tame” brewing yeasties have worked their magic. Then the Brett usually eats up residual sugars and provides funk (barn, barnyard, hay, horse-blanket, etc.) and often some a little bit of sour character. Soooo, if a little Brett does that, then 100 percent Brett will be super funky and sour, right? (That’s what the kids call foreshadowing.)

It pours a radioactive, hazy, straw color, with a slowly-receding, fine, white head. At first, it smells like one of those stupid tropical fruits that is all exotic and crazy-looking but ends up being kind of lame. Then there is some banana, aaaand the Brett. The Brett has me a little confused, though. It’s not the usual funk.

As for the taste: It’s way sweeter than I expected. The tropical is still there (a little more forward than in the smell), joined by some cereal, and a faint tripel-like apple and pear. And now the Brett is definitely all up in my grill; but it still has me a little thrown off…like when you’re traveling in another time zone, and Jeopardy comes on at a different time.

You may be naturalized, but I’ve got my eye on you, Trebek.

It’s almost like an over-ripe, not-quite-rotten-but-maybe-the-Haybag-will-get-mad-if-I-eat-it pineapple. Strange. Finally, it finishes sweet, and is overall pretty heavy. Like this beer leaves its shirt on at the pool, heavy. I’m not feelin’ it. And I wanted to like it.

As for the Haybag, I opened this while she was out with the ladies to see the critically-acclaimed Citizen Kane of stripper movies: Magic Mike.

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9 thoughts on “New Belgium and Lost Abbey Brett Beer: Maybe Less Bretta Betta?

  1. I also just picked up a bottle of this but haven’t had it yet. I hope it’s better than Magic Mike.

    That said, I just listened to an episode of Basic Brewing Radio where a homebrewer talks about his own use of 100% brett in beers: http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.php?page=basic-brewing-radio-2011 (May 12 episode)

    My impression was he was kind of disappointed with the outcome – it wasn’t nearly as sour or funky as he imagined and rather “clean.” It has something to do with Brett being a lousy solo-fermenter, I guess.

    Seems like you had a similar experience and didn’t live up to expectations?

    • I had read about that after I had it. Maybe part of it was dashed expectations. It was almost like Brett candy, which would be peculiar. Still better than going to Magic Mike, though. I will be interested to see your thoughts.

    • A beer has to bring it pretty hard for me to think it’s too sweet (although maybe the accompanying flavors affect that threshold).

      Good to hear from you. For some reason you weren’t showing up in my follow feed. I just unfollowed and followed again, and it seems to be working now. I liked your post about your daughter and rock. I am at a similar point with our daughter. She likes listening to Little Stephen’s Underground Garage on XM, and she has 5 different rock songs she insists on hearing all the time. She is pretty timid, though. Her first rock show might be a lot farther off.

      • They have time. No need to grow up.

        You might not have heard from me b/c I haven’t been posting. I’m trying to force myself back into it now. We’ll see how it goes.

  2. My understanding is that Brett by itself doesn’t provide that much sourness. Usually sours that have Brett in them also have various bacterial critters that really amp up the sourness. Russian River’s Sanctification (also brewed with 100% Brett) has a very light, very pleasant tartness with a little of that funk. Also, assuming that the beer is bottle conditioned, it should change a lot over time…

    • That was my understanding, too. I suppose I didn’t express that with the right adjective (some). I guess what I meant was “a little” (or maybe more appropriately, “a touch”). I actually didn’t find this one sour AT ALL. Maybe it was just so damn sweet that it buried any.

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