To date, St.Paul’s Summit Brewing has released 17 beers in its limited-edition Unchained series, ranging from a Kentucky common to a dunkelweizen to an Australian sparkling ale that was, hands-down, one of the best beers last year had to offer. The series allows Summit’s brewers to experiment with new ingredients or take a shot on a style that might not make it to flagship status. When we received Harvest Fresh IPA, batch 17 in the series, we remembered that we’d been hanging on to batch 14, a bière de garde. Luckily, it’s high time we drank both.
2013 Bière de Garde
When this 7.3%-ABV beer was released in the fall of 2013, brewer Jeff Williamson said he was saving his bottles for Thanksgiving 2014. While biere de garde literally translates to “beer for keeping,” we’ll admit we cellared this guy just a few months too long. It’s still lively and well-carbonated, but the sip is muddied by slight oxidation. Toffee and some dark fruit remain, making this a still-pleasant sip. If you’re holding on to one of these in your cellar, dust it off now.
2014 Harvest Fresh IPA
The word “fresh” gets thrown around IPAs a ton, but this beer earns the descriptor. A perfumey, piny aroma hints at the wet grass and mosslike hop flavors that dominate this earthy, 7% brew. If your palate needs a break from citrus hops, this should be your next pick-up.