In the heat of the summer, it may not occur to you (sometimes I myself need prodding) to swing open the cellar doors and pluck an aged beer to enjoy. Naturally, much of the contents of one’s cellar tends to be brawny, boozy or barrel-aged—not quite the refreshing summer thirst-quencher. American wild ales, some of which are sour, and some of which are made with fruit, are an exception to the rule. The fruit feels warm-weather appropriate, while tartness and carbonation (hopefully there’s still some in your years-old bottle) wash the fruits’ sweetness from the tongue at the end of a sip. What I’m saying is: Drink one of your aged sours when you’re feeling that summer cellar ennui.
This week, we opened our 2012 bottle of Framboozled, a raspberry and strawberry lambic-style wild ale from Ann Arbor, Mich.’s Arbor Brewing. We liked the beer back in 2012, and were curious to see how its sharp acidity and barnyard funk had mellowed over three years. The burgundy-hued pour has turned hazy and slightly more brown, but retained lively carbonation. Aromas waft right off the pour: raspberry jam, wet hay and must. On the tongue, the sharp tartness the beer originally displayed has become something deeper, approaching balsamic. It hasn’t gone too funky (as can sometimes happen with aged fruit lambics), but there is still pointed acidity that’s made more pleasant by its full carbonation and lively raspberry and raspberry seed flavor. With a rich, creamy cheese, this would be heavenly… not that Brie springs to mind on a 95-degree day.