The Lost Abbey & New Belgium: Brett Beer
Collaboration beers were all the rage last year, but often as not, they seemed like the result of too many cooks in the kitchen.
Not so the joint effort of Southern California’s Lost Abbey and Fort Collins, Colo.‘s New Belgium—part of the latter’s Lips of Faith series. The “Brett” of Brett Beer refers to the Brettanomyces, a strain of wild yeast that brewers used to consider a contaminant as it would waft in from open windows. But some brewers, mostly in Belgium, developed a whole family of farmhouse (saison) beers taking advantage of the unique flavor.
If you’re not used to the strange, sour flavor of farmhouse ales or Flemish reds, that will be the first thing to strike you. But this is a reasonably crisp, effervescent example of the style, balanced by hops (Target, Centennial and Sorachi Ace). The sour flavor is more citrus than most true Belgian sours, resulting in a surprisingly refreshing beer. At 7.5% ABV, its potent without knocking you right off your feet.
Welcome to the PAC-12, Colorado. You and California just proved you can play nice.