Archive for the 'American Wild Ale' Category



Hands down one of the top 3 best American Wild Ales I’ve had to date, easily holding it’s own against such classics as De Dolle Oerbier and Duchesse de Bourgogne. In your face wild yeast flavors leading into an abundant fruity finish. Perfect with some of your favorite stinky cheeses.

beer + food = Barleydine




Another fantastic rendition of the historical Flanders style. Pouring a very amber color with a billowing tan head and sharp acidic nose. Loaded with tart, sour flavors on the tongue leaving a long finish behind. Quite refreshing for sour heads, though doesn’t seem quite as acidic as La Folie or even the Duchesse. Another wonderful example of The Bruery’s claim to fame.

Pairing suggestions: moules frites

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beer + food = Barleydine



Russian River Brewing Company crafts some of the most sought after beers in all of America. Located in Santa Rosa, CA, RRBC has a very distinct and popular line of Wild Ales called by some the “-tion” series. With names such as Temptation, Supplication, Beautification as well as several others. Russian River also brews up two of the countries most popular IPA’s. Pliny the Elder is a fantastic West Coast DIPA while it’s brethren Pliny the Younger is a highly sought after seasonal TIPA. Unfortunately, Russian River has very low distribution and there are no plans to expand. Currently you can find their beers in California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado out west. If you want their beers on the East side, Philly is the only place to go. I know first hand that Russian River is not distributed outside of Philly at all. If your looking for these beers, most likely you’ll be driving or trading to get some.

Temptation is a very popular barrel aged wild beer with quite a reputation. Wondering what all the hype was about, I began my quest to nail one down. Since I live hours of from Philly I ended up trading to acquire my share. Upon it’s arrival I immediately cellared it to allow the beer to settle. Several days later, it was chilled for only a few minutes to prepare the beer for my consumption.

I will start by saying, Temptation lives up to any and all the hype that might surround said beverage. This is without a doubt one of most well crafted Wild Ales I’ve ever experienced. Temptation pours a light and cloudy golden hue with a substantial fluffy white head. Hints of vanilla and fruit are present in the aroma leading directly into the flavor. The body is light and crisp with a hint of dry and a very well balanced amount of tartness. This is a very drinkable wild beer. This is a very well planned and thought out sour, not the typical barrel-aged wild mess that can be found in many other breweries. Temptation has structure that is made very clear to the person enjoying this wonderful beer.

Pairing suggestions: light salads, sweeter seafoods, escargot, Stilton

beer + food = Barleydine



A complex, sour, red wine-like Belgian-style ale is a pretty reduced description of this historic beer style. Brewed at first by the Rodenbach Brewery in 1820, this style is still quite elusive. There aren’t many breweries to my knowledge that are replicating this fantastic sour ale. Made using infected wooden barrels where the beer is aged for at least two years.

Jaspers was aged just as long in traditional wood barrels infected with the funk producing sour bacteria. Though not as tart as it’s American counterparts, it’s a wonderfully drinkable version of the Flanders style.

The Bullfrog Brewery has been producing spectacular wild beers since their Gold Medal win in 2008 at the GABF. Their basement is packed full of barrels that are gracefully aging their wonderful beers in a semi-traditional manner. These are without a doubt some of the best sours being produced in America at the moment, definitely a must try. With very low distribution and small releases, these beers are highly sought after and super trade bait.

Pairing Suggestions: very strong earthy cheese, such as Limburger or Stilton.

beer + food = Barleydine


I was into my Wilds tonight. This is one that will be part of an upcoming Wild Feature on Barleydine. I just thought I’d show you all what I’ve been feverishly hording and drinking in private.

A – Slightly hazy amber/copper-colored body with reddish hues and half a finger of off-white head that settled to a thin film and left a bit of spotty lace.

S – Tart and sour nose suggesting green apple and sour cherry notes with a backing of syrupy malt. Aroma has a slight cough syrup aspect.

T – La Roja is sour and tart and, while only hinting at subtle hop bitterness, it is quite woody and oaky. La Roja develops into a syrupy dark fruit tang in the finish.

M – Medium body with lively carbonation and a syrupy texture. A little thin and watery overall. Finish is dry and sour with a good bit of astringency on the palate.

beer + food = Barleydine


All the rage in the US these days in the Craft Beer scene is Wilds and Sours. Spin offs of the original Belgian masterpieces such as Lambics are popping up all over the country. Breweries are taking the use of wild yeasts such as Brettanomyces or Lambicus and giving beers a whole new flavor dimension. These yeast impart sour aromas and flavors which make the beers unbelievably refreshing. Once such beer is Ommegangs Ommegeddon, a Funkhouse Ale with Brettanomyces, as they call it. Essentially this is Hennepin, their fantastic rendition of a Farmhouse Ale with a bit of a wild spin to it. I find these beers hard to describe given I’m not familiar with what all flavors wild yeasts impart on a beer.

On to the beer…
Ommegang Hennepin is well established in my list of favorite beers. It is a wonderfuly complex and refreshing ale with loads of spices and hints of earthy undertones. Ommegang has taken this beer to a whole new level with Ommegeddon by adding a bit of wild yeast. Brettanomyces takes this beer to a phenomenal level, giving it loads of sour flavors. This relatively new exploration in wild ales is gaining momentum quickly across the country.

Tasting notes….
Hennepin, as I mentioned before is a wonderfully complex ale. Based on the Farmhouse style, it is layered with complexities only seen in the Belgian beer world. Ommegeddon is the wild version of Hennepin which imparts some sour, bitter flavors not seen in the standard Farmhouse style. These sour or bitter tones complimented the spiciness of the shrimp panini sandwich which it was paired with. The shrimp was prepared using a dash of cajun rub, giving it a bit of spice, which was quite nice for such a delicate meat. The beers body and mouthfeel lent itself quite well to how light the shrimp is by nature. Finally, the mouth was cleansed by abundant carbonation, wiping out the heavy cheese and mayo flavors that hung around. Fantastic pairing, which can be quite difficult for this new world of sour beers.

beer + food = Barleydine


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