Yesterday, Driftwood put out their most recent one-off release: Mad Bruin. This sour/wild brown ale is the second in their Bird of Prey series, inspired because a Coopers Hawk flew into the brewery or some such. Hey, if you need a story behind your series of sour ales, you could do worse, I suppose.
And yesterday, Mad Bruin landed with a resounding thud. Unlike other Driftwood releases like Sartori, Singularity and Twenty Pounder, no one seems interested in picking this one up. So, what do I think? Well, it’s hard to gauge. This beer is clearly structured for aging, and that makes it hard to review, but I’ll try.
Right off the bat, this sucker hits you with a sweet astringency that settles in the back of your throat. That’s the lacto at work here, producing a bit of a puckerfest. After that, the malt lingers over a few sips, building a nice caramel tone.
A few sips later and you can tell where this bastard spent the past few months: in oak barrels. Used wine barrels, to be exact. Maybe something pinot-y. The oaking is very intense, and slowly grows to dominate the beer, so that by the end of your glass you’re pretty sure you just licked the hardwood floors.
So, right now it’s not much of a looker, but how will it age? Well, I think. It’s unfiltered, so the sourness should continue to develop while the extreme oakiness fades. The malty caramel will slowly come forward to play down the sour, but don’t be worried, this beer is definitely heading towards sour funk-town.
Overall, this will not be a top flight beer, but it will definitely be an interesting one, given enough time. Put a few in the back of your cellar and start pulling them out around April. If this plays out like similar beers I’ve had, look for a peak in July/August 2012, with a massive sour tone balancing out a slightly oaky sweet, but pronounced caramel.
Aside: What’s with the labels guys? You buy a $10 clip art CD and figure “Yeah, that’ll do”?
|Drink||Spring 2013 to Late Summer 2013|
|Chance of this turning
to vinegar in 6 months
|Availability||Very good at LRS, zero at LDB|
|Cost||$11-13 per 650ml bottle|
|Similar Beers||Upright Late Harvest|
|Chuck says||Buy 1 to drink now, 6-12 to cellar|