BRING THIS OUT: Goose Island Sofie 2009
Sofie is effervescent beauty in a glass and is almost painful to cellar when a freshly bottled version is so delicious. Still, even beauty can evolve, and after two years in our cellar, this vintage emerges in spectacular fashion. Fresh, Sofie is a vibrant, sparkling ale that bursts with funky Brettanomyces yeast flavors and peppery saison notes. Today, those qualities have quieted, making room for some of the richer flavors this beer has to offer: Soft vanilla and muted white pepper scents envelop that earthy Brett aroma, while orange and lemon add brightness to the bouquet. On the tongue, the beer’s gone creamy; it slips down the palate as vanilla, white pepper and banana sink into the taste buds, and floral-toned orange zest and Brett tartness jab the back of the mouth. Ending extremely dry, lingering orange zest rides through the finish.
LAY THIS DOWN: New Belgium Lips of Faith Vrienden
This wild ale is a collaboration between the powerhouse teams at New Belgium and Allagash. Brewed with hibiscus and endive, Vrienden trades an aggressive mouthfeel for an intriguing earthy blend of flavors. Today, this auburn beer’s aroma injects herbal notes into sweet doughy malts, while a light Brett funk and lactobacillus sourness linger in the air. Rustic Brett flavors land on the tongue first, before a swell of hibiscus and endive adds floral, tealike flavors to the toasty malt. Sour lacto pinches the sides of the tongue while tartness settles in the back. This beer’s enjoyable today, but a year in the cellar will cause the earthier tones to cede to fruity sweetness, accentuating the beer’s hibiscus.