The Bruery might still consider itself a “boutique brewery,” but the reputation they’ve earned since opening shop in 2008 is anything but small. The Orange County-based brewery has made a name for themselves thanks in part to the popularity of their annual barrel-aged stout, Black Tuesday, but mostly because they do Belgians really well. And wild ales. And stouts. And field beers…Over the years, The Bruery has produced countless big format, beautifully packaged beers and managed to escape being pigeonholed by proving they can get the job done regardless of the style at hand. Oh, and they love barrel-aging beer? Like, wood is an obsession for these people. So, it makes sense that The Bruery would develop a dedicated space for going deeper into the wonderful world of sours. Not only did The Bruery build a second production brewery dedicated to sours, they created an entirely different brand dedicated to the art of wild and sour beers—Bruery Terreux.
Frederick H., a tart, Berlin-style wheat beer aged in oak foeders, is one of the latest beers to come out of Bruery Terreux (which we’ll refer to as “BT” because it’s hard to spell). Essentially, this is a Berliner Weiss with all kinds of funk thanks to its time in the oak. The mad-scientists behind BT like Frederick H. so much, they’ve made it a staple in their year-round lineup.
The beer pours a crystal-clear copper with a head that builds quickly and disappears just as fast. It smells sweet and “apply,” almost like a cider. To say this beer is tart is an understatement. Smarties are tart. Granny Smith apples are tart. Frederick H. has all of the acidity and tang you’d expect from a brewery that focuses entirely on sours and wild ales. If you’re looking for an easy entry into the world of sours, move along. This is not the beer you’re looking for. But, if your palate has already been wooed by the siren call of those wild organisms that turn beer into liquid pickles, stick around, because there’s more to this beer than just “sour.” Beneath all those tart notes, there’s a fruity sweetness (apples again! And peaches and maybe even apricots) and a crisp, dry finish. This is a super light beer in a lot of ways, from the mouthfeel, which has the weight of vapor, to the ABV, which comes in at a low, low 4.4%.
I could’ve used more of the barrel—even some oaky tannins would’ve added another welcome dimension to the beer, but still, the beer works; There’s no denying that Frederick H. is a refreshing brew built for sour lovers. And here’s something interesting: I usually like to enjoy my sour beers in a closed room with no other distractions, but this particular beer is actually really good with food, particularly spicy sausage. I could see it with pork chops, or a hearty stew too. A refreshing, summer-friendly sour that’s also good with heavy, winter food? That’s versatility in a bottle.
Brewery: Bruery Terreux
City: Anaheim, California
Style: Barrel-aged Berliner-Weiss
Availability: Year round in big, fancy bottles