New Holland Mischievous Brettanomyces Fermented Wild Ale

I don't even know what Brettanomyces are. Okay, I didn't know what they were, but now I know it's a type of yeast that these guys refer to as "wild" yeast. I had shied away from this particular beer at my distributors for a while now, and I finally gave in this time around. I fear that it will be one of those new sour-style beers for hipsters, but I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt.

For something with such a daunting name, the color is pretty darn simple. It's a plain gold with a thin head that scatters to the winds fairly quickly. The points of nucleation are strong with this one, though, so bubbles stream to the surface despite the exceedingly clean glass. The smell is really new for a beer, though. It reminds me of Mandarin oranges more than anything, but it's cut with a bitterness and a sweetness that are competing with each other. This should be interesting.

First sip is jarring. The taste is really kind of out there with a tartness and dust-covered fruit. The orange is joined by a kind of sour apple and maybe a really, really sour cherry of a type that I was previously unfamiliar with. The sip is not inspiring, and I certainly hope the beer gets better when I dissect it, as the sip is not the best experience I've ever had. So, straight to the swig for it.

Tip-in is light tartness with sour apple and a hint of orange while the carbonation zaps at the tongue. The middle sloshes in with a lot less tartness than the sip, and the effect is very nice. The light hops and simple apple and oranges and maybe a hint of mango are very crisp and smooth. The finish is a tart bomb. It swells with tartness, and it then starts slapping the tongue and it blows raspberries as it fades into the distance.

Bottom Line: An interesting beer that gets better as time progresses and the heat is allowed to take the beer from the bitter chill to a mild cool.



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