Wynona’s Big Brown Ale
Voodoo Brewing Co.
Wynona’s got herself a big brown ale and she shows it off to all her friends—as well she should, since it’s a damn fine brew. Nutty, sugary pecan pie meets doughnuts, raisins and a splash of light-roast coffee in the nose, while the flavor adds more roasted malt bitterness to the equation. Raisiny sweetness surges at the front of the sip; the tongue pulls out a good amount of sharp, sweet liquor (but none of the warmth you’d expect from 7.2% ABV) so the pecan pie seems more of the maple-bourbon variety. The finish of roasted peanuts and Ritz crackers is a flavor we wish we could have on-hand at all times; it’s unusual but oddly satisfying. Kind of like this song.
Burial Brewing Co./Threes Brewing
Consider us fully on board with the trend of cloudy, juicy IPAs that have radiated from the Northeast and throughout the country; we think these velvety, low-bitterness brews with humongous hop flavor and aroma are the future of the style, and if the ethos that created them spreads into other styles—hoppy lagers, for instance—all the better. Both Ways comes to us by way of both Asheville, North Carolina (where Burial’s located) and Brooklyn, New York (home of Threes), but its appearance is pure New England, turbid like pale pineapple juice and capped with a fluffy layer of white. Chives, fresh garlic, lemon juice and saltine crackers meld in the crisp aroma, while the sip adds some peach, pineapple and orange-pulp fruitiness that slides off quickly and shifts toward dried grass. The clean, bready finish lands softly; bitterness is low and smooth. More India pale lagers like this, please.
Barrier Brewing Co.
Barrier has been supplying Oceanside, New York with hoppy goodness since 2009, but only began packaging its creations in cans this month. Tanto is one of two beers that made the first canning run (the other is Money, Barrier’s beloved flagship IPA), and for our money Tanto is the more pleasing of the two. Lemons, garlic, weed, mango and lawn clippings cut through the nose like the short samurai sword for which the beer’s named; the sip is softer, with the big-bodied, almost chewy liquid introducing the tongue to a procession of grapefruit, fresh white onion, pineapple skin and baked biscuits.
TRVE Brewing Co.
Okay, we’re sold on TRVE. The Denver-based brewery especially impressed us last week with its sour pale ale, Cursed, but nearly every one of its wild ales demonstrates a restraint you find in depressingly few examples of the style, with tartness that works with, not against, the base flavors. Ostara—a version of TRVE’s Megatherion golden sour ale with additions of lemongrass, lemon peel and dandelion greens—continues this trend with a delicate floral-funky nose that melds clover honey, pear juice, bright green apple and pink peppercorns with a whiff of matchsticks. Crisp pear washes across the tongue alongside white grape and a more sizeable addition of snappy lemongrass; the finish is quite floral, a tea of dandelion petals and stems, and the acidity, as we mentioned, is restrained and clean.