Driftwood is back with it’s second release in the “Bird of Prey” series! And this time around, its a sour brown ale made in the Belgian fashion of Oud Bruin (Old Brown) ale. Fans of this series, or those who have a very good memory and just happen follow this blog , will no doubt remember that last fall, they came out with their Flanders Red – a sour ale made in much the same fashion.
Suffice it to say, their Flanders Red was one of the best all around beers I have ever had, balancing authenticity with complexity of flavor and drinkability. Granted, your non-beer drinkers might find it somewhat inaccessible, but there is an awful lot there to appeal to the discerning beer drinker! Much the same is true of the Mad Bruin, which is also made using the same strain of Belgian yeast and aged in oak barrels for 16 months before being bottled and shipped.
The end result of all this is a complex, flavorful beer that has a high concentration of lactic acid, making it quite sour on the tongue. At the same time, the oak barrel aging process allows for notes of flavor that are not unlike a nice, dry red wine. Many different types of tart, sweet fruits are discernible in the nose and palate as well, contributing to a flavor that is both well suited to food pairing and enjoyable on its own.
Appearance: Deep brown/orange, translucent and low foam
Nose: Strong notes of dry red wine, oak and tart fruits
Taste: Immediate burst of sour cherry, plum, oaky, and earthy tones
Aftertaste: Lingering sourness, finishing with a slight touch of bitter
Alongside your basic pumpkin ales, I would say sour ale is the perfect fall beer. Perhaps it’s just the deep, gratifying taste or the fact that it reminds me of fall fruit and autumn leaves, but the taste, smell and all around profile of it just feels conducive to autumn weather. Much like the Flanders Red, I plan to secure as many bottles of these as possible before the season is out, and look forward to 2014 when the wife and I will be making the trip to the Flanders region itself! But more on that later…