When it comes to session beers, there are more than a few options for Pale Ales and IPAs. Gose and Berliner Weiss are two low ABV styles that have become increasingly popular over the last few years as well. I’m always curious to try beers that offer a more unique take on what a sub-5% beer can be, especially if a brewery is able to do so without sacrificing a fully-developed flavor profile. Allagash’s belgian-style beers are typically some of the best, so when the brewery announced a new session seasonal, I knew it’d be worth a taste.
The beer is called Little Brett: a 4.8% brew that’s fermented with Brettanomyces and dry hopped with Mosaic, one of my favorite varieties. I’ll admit to being partial to that hop, and always being eager to try beers that are made with it. I’ve found it to offer a rather complex flavor of citrus while retaining that piney earthiness and hop bite. Little Brett is classified as an American Wild Ale, but as I found during my time enjoying a 4-pack, it drinks like a Saison. And that’s definitely a good thing.
Little Brett pours a golden yellow with a milky white head. That head fades almost instantly to a thin layer across the top, a cover that remains until you hit the bottom of the glass. Allagash promises pineapple aromas on the label, and I’m happy to report that description didn’t disappoint. There’s plenty of the fruit in the nose alongside some earthy Brett funk and mild farmhouse character. Honestly, the nose isn’t too far off from what I’d expect a session version of Pineapple Sculpin to smell like. There’s that much fruit and a solid dose of hops in the smell.
That earthy fruitiness is present in the taste too, with a slight punch of hops and a delicate Brett quality. The “mild tartness” the brewery uses to describe the beer is also accurate, as I found that quality to be ever so slight in the overall flavor. It’s no where near a Gose, Berliner or other tart styles. The Mosaic hops and Brett strike a nice balance here, offering lemony pine notes while remaining super smooth and drinkable. Little Brett is full of great flavor, but at the same time it didn’t overwhelm my palate — a quality many session beers fail to achieve.
If you’re looking for a fresh take on what a low-ABV beer can be this summer, you’ll want to give this a shot. The complexity will pair well with grilled meats and veggies and the body is super light and drinkable as the temperature climbs. Try something new this year as you head out on the porch or down to the water for some R&R, starting with this beer. As for me, I’ve definitely found a new summer staple.
Brewery: Allagash Brewing Company
City: Portland, Maine
Style: American Wild Ale
Availability: Limited, 4-Packs of 12 oz. bottles.
Billy is the host of The Brewcast, a beer podcast that never records on a regular schedule. You can follow his drinking habit @beardbrews on Twitter.