Every time I go to Jack’s Abby, or drink Jack’s Abby beer, I inevitably run into someone who will find out I have a beer blog. Sometimes it’s me mentioning it, sometimes it’s my boyfriend, and sometimes it’s my dad, who I have no problem with as a personal PR agent. And that person who is told about my blog will always ask me, “Oh, have you reviewed any Jack’s Abby beer?” And I’ll say yes I have, I’ve reviewed Hoponious Union and they’ll go Oh cool and will further say I should review their beer.
WELL HERE IT IS, JACK’S ABBY. HERE’S ANOTHER REVIEW SINCE YOU MISSED THE FIRST ONE. NOTICE THIS!!!
In my post on Hoponious Union, I mentioned that it was an India Pale Lager, not an ale. This is because Jack’s Abby only does lagers. There is not a single ale to be found in their beer lineup, but they’re none the weaker for it. In fact, I went to a tasting at the brewery near my birthday, tasted seven beers, and every single one was delicious, especially the Fire in the Ham. But I digress.
The beer I bring to you today is something you’ve probably never had before, or maybe even heard of. This beer, Brett Biere de Garde (6.2%), is a sour rye lager that was aged in white wine barrels. Go ahead. Tell me you’ve had a beer like this before. You’ll be lying.
A Biere de Garde is a style of beer that is like a Farmhouse, but it is traditionally made in France. If you read my review of Sam Adams Infinium last year, then you know what a Biere de Champagne is, and you’ll be able to figure out that this is somewhat similar. But, not content to let this be completely traditional, Jack’s Abby added 30% rye malt (locally grown) and Belgian candy sugar. It was also brewed with wild yeast called brettanomyces. The result is…well, just read the damn thing.
Appearance: Slightly hazy, and a fantastic orange-amber color. There’s almost no head, just a thin white line. Some carbonation. I apologize for the fact that I don’t have a clear picture of the glass, but in compensation, here’s a picture of me holding the beer:
Attractive, right? Here’s another. Focus on the color of the beer, not my beautiful face:
There. You get the idea.
Aroma: Yay, it’s sour! A funky, sour smell is the first thing I noticed. I don’t smell anything resembling a peppery, rye, or hoppy smell. Not lingering or overpowering, but it is a fairly strong smell. It’s actually a bit wine-like in the aroma—a result of the wine barrel aging, me thinks.
First Sip: Here is where a slight pepperiness from the rye comes in. It does not taste like a typical sour beer. Of course, there is some sourness, but it blends nicely with the rye flavor. Slightly bitter. As I continued drinking it, I could taste more of that pepperiness, and some yeastiness. The sour flavor is funky and slightly fruity. Overall, I’m surprised that these two flavors blended so nicely. Seriously, it’s awesome.
Mouthfeel: A little sharpness, but really not a whole lot of carbonation. Definitely not thick. The pepperiness and sour taste can stand out really well because it is lighter on the tongue. Think Belgian, but with a rye and sour twist thrown in.
Aftertaste: The pepperiness of the rye is pervasive and is what sticks around after the sour taste is gone.
In closing: drink this beer. It’s delicious. And while you’re at it, try their others as well. They have a Mom & Pop’s Pumpkin Crop Lager that is very tasty, and quite fitting for the season. (And I’ll review that beer too, if Jack’s Abby promises to name a beer after me. Nah, just kidding, I’ll review it anyway.)