First up is a new to me Crooked Stave offering – St. Bretta Winter. I’ve had a few others of theirs, but grabbed this one on a bit of a whim. Having just left Colorado and moved to Washington, Crooked Stave was a brewery that I did not expect to find here. When I got word of their arrival I was extremely excited. I love what they are doing and am surprised that their products are available on this side of the country.
To quote from the recent interview with Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, “Crooked Stave’s progressive approach to brewing blends science and art through creativity and passion. The artistic creations, all use Brettanomyces yeast and mature in oak, resulting in beers of extraordinary complexity. Specializing in Brettanomyces wild and sour ales.” Their core offerings Vieille and Surette do a fantastic job showing the character and depth of flavors from Brettanomyces.
St. Bretta is a pure celebration of the wild yeast strain Brettanomyces, which imparts a flavor profile that is tart, very bright, and citrusy. Along with Vieille and Surette, it is a great jumping off point and starting point for their product range. Enough background, let’s get into the review.
Brewery: Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
Beer: St. Bretta – Citrus Wildbier 100% Brettanomyces
Batch: Winter / 2014 / Batch 6
Seasonal Citrus: Satsuma Mandarin
Appearance – (3.75/5) This beer pours a deep, dark, honeyed amber color. Settles to a rich ruby brown in the glass and is overall much darker than anticipated. Head is initially tan and fluffy, but disappears pretty quickly and leaves behind minimal tracing down the inside of the glass. Thin, tiny bubbles lay around the edges of the glass.
Aroma – (4.25/5) Light notes of oak, citrus, oranges, mandarins, lightly tart grapefruit, sweet and bright citrus, lightly funky and yeasty, little bit of a vinegar tone as well, dry and sharp notes of oak and orange pith.
Taste – (4.25/5) Sweet and tart, lightly fruity, some berry tones here as well, raspberry, strawberry, lemon, orange peel, mandarin sweetness, yeasty dryness, funky sour and bitter vinegar notes, light malt sweetness, very nice balance of initial sweetness with a dry and tart finish.
Mouthfeel – (4.5/5) Medium bodied, a very nice and light effervescence to it, coats the inside of the mouth with a little bit of residual sweetness. Leads to a long lasting finish that highlights some of the vanilla and sweet oak tones.
Overall – (4.25/5) Very nice offering from CS, this poured a bit darker than I expected and tasted a tad richer as well, still a fairly bright, clean, crisp, funky, and enjoyable brew, this highlights the citrus very well and balances it out with a lightly sweet oaky tone. You might enjoy this beer if you gravitate towards bright and crisp hoppy beers, like a fresh IPA, also if you enjoy yeasty and estery beers like Saisons and Tripels. This is a very nice, crisp, tart, and complex beer, would pair well with rich cheeses and meats to provide a nice contrast.