Big thanks goes out to Jay23 for bringing this along to a tasting at d0b's place last weekend, along with the wings and other gem-ified brews, thanks Jay! New Belgium's Bottleworks 10th Anny shows off a hazy peach body that has the tendency to glow when any light hits. A tight white head snapped to a finger in height and diminished to a skimming rather quickly leaving behind a patch of lace here and a chunk of lace there.
The nose sports all kinds of delicious bretty funkiness. Horsefunk hits off the bat, not a lot but enough to let me know it's there. Shortly after with some warming along comes the sweat socks and a deep tart peachiness that makes my mouth water uncontrollably. A candy like aroma that reminds me of the sweet and sour that is Sweet Tarts also come along at a healthy clip. Stone fruit pits glide through here and there of all varieties...Wow!
Each drink follows the hugely complex aroma step-by-step which is a feat in and of itself. A biting sourness hits right off the bat that super acidic and right up my alley. Musty, tart peaches come along quickly along with all those wonderful barnyard qualities mentioned in the aroma and a squeeze of lemon juice. The different stone fruits each play their own role but they're always evolving and changing. This is one hell of a fruity, puckering sour beer.
An active carbonation never reaches prickly but is lively enough to scrub the sour right off my tongue after each drink. The sourness is making my mouth water right now, one week later, while I write this review. The body has a light airy feel, especially when the carbonation takes hold. The finish is dry and manages to accentuate the sourness up front.
My glass was tipped nearly nonstop when filled with this delicious nectar and while it wasn't my nose was jammed in the glass. If I didn't get the little bit of heartburn I did when drinking this beauty I'd have given it a 5 for drinkability without a doubt.
I didn't expect to ever try this beer and am certainly glad I had the chance. This is one of the best American sours I've ever had, hugely complex and delicious. Thanks for sharing Jay!
Sampled June 2009
A solid, though not aggressive, pour into my large Tripel Karmeliet Tulip produces an almost four-finger thick, nicely tan colored head. The head slowly subsides with a rocky texture and leaves a nice lacing pattern on the sides of my glass. The beer is a burnished, dark amber, red tinged color that shows a hazy’ish, light cranberry red hue when held up to the light. Even as I pour this I get a nice scent of Brettanomyces funk that is quite inviting. Big lactic sourness mixes with sharp notes of urea, musk and phenolic soaked musty cotton. The aroma is actually quite Gueuze like, and I don’t mean just any Gueuze, but a good, solidly funky example whose aroma will keep my quite happily occupied for quite some time. A background of spicy oak, a woody mushroom wildness as well as some freshly crushed grain aromatics, a nice grassy / dried hay component are also quite prominent if you spend some time exploring the nuances. I like how funky this is, it really has a vibrant character to it; a fine mix of butyric acid and urea type notes provide a strong, musky note that any Lambic lover should crave.
Bracingly tart, which I was ready for based on the nose, this beer makes my mouth pucker up quite nicely. The beer is fairly light bodied, and if not for the aggressive lactic sourness, this would be as quaffable as water. While the sourness is nice and hard, it is not too much for this lover of hard-Lambics. The body is also not thin as it has a tannic structure from the oak as well as certain slickness from the lactic acid that provides just enough body. This is well carbonated underneath the acidity, which contributes an amply prickly sensation as well as boosting the peppery finish. While the beer has a fair amount of color to it, it doesn’t have much to it that reminds me of the more malty Flemish Sours. In fact the flavor once again reinforces the Lambic / Gueuze qualities that I noticed in the nose. A touch of dried grass, and freshly crushed grain husk flavors can be found in the finish at times, but overall the fresh malt contribution is quite subtle here. There is perhaps a touch of acetic acidity here, but it is very soft (especially considering I was expecting much more from the New Belgium Barrels), this is really much more lactic in character and is a big departure from the bottles of La Folie that I have had over the years. Again, the acid balance is nicely in line with a Gueuze, but there is just enough acetic character to provide a round fruitiness to the beer that can just remind one of a wine-vinegar.
Enough focus on the acidity, there is also a ton of funkiness to this brew. Notes of urea are found throughout the flavor profile and there is a huge, musky, dried sweat soaked leather, a woody & phenolic mushroom character, . There is also a substantial tannic note here that even coats the teeth a bit, it is wrapped up in a solid oak character that plays a supporting role in this beer. The oak provides a soft spicy note, and a solid wood-chip flavor. With all the acidity the beer comes off as tasting bone dry. At times I find myself noticing a nice fruitiness in the middle of this beer, especially as it warms up; it is wrapped up in the vinegar notes and provides a touch of cherry, some sour plum and even a touch of something that reminds me of a dry, rosé Champagne as well as evoking a suggestion of fruity sweetness. The warmer this becomes, the more the fruitiness gets accented
I am quite impressed how close this beer is to a Lambic. In fact, when this beer is in the low to mid 50ºF / low 10ºC this is the closest I have ever had to a Lambic outside of Belgium, and I am really digging this beer. Warmth does bring out a touch more acetic character and fruitiness, but nothing necessarily outside the range of a Lambic. This really is just a fantastic beer, one which I definitely wish I had quite a bit more of in the cellar. I am really enjoying the ample Brettanomyces presence and how it pairs with the solid sourness. In the end this is a very tasty beer that achieves an incredible balance between the various components of it’s flavors and aromas.
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