Little Beast Dream State - Receiving one of our highest ratings this first fruit beer from Little Beast is outstanding. Generally strawberries are one of our least favorite fruits to be used in making a beer but the 100lbs of hand-picked Oregon strawberries displayed their heady aroma up front and with their lush fruit character following the mid-palate funk. It would be easy to drink the full 375ml bottle by one's self but we were fortunate enough that the person that shared it with us was feeling generous.
pFriem Bosbessen - Switching berries to blueberries, they impart a gorgeous color and tart blueberry aroma into this barrel-aged lambic-style ale. That's where they depart and the funk goodness takes over, dominating the flavor in the most delicious way.
Almanac Tropical Galaxy - The name Almanac is nearly synonymous with sour/wild beers although this one is distinctly different from many of the fruit-forward ones we've enjoyed before. A dry-hopped farmhouse aged in oak barrels with mango, lime and coconut the aroma is pretty funky with a flavor that is both smooth and balanced between the various components.
Our next two beers come from the same brewery - Urban Family - but couldn't be more different.
Guava Dawn, displaying a bright color from the pink guava that also infuses the aroma, it is subtly balanced by the Brett, Sacc and Lactobacillus mixed culture it was fermented with. The result is mimosa-like and crushable.
Dark Perennial goes to the dark side of sour beers with a nearly opaque color, a combination resulting from the blackberries, boysenberries and Midnight Wheat. The rhubarb contributes tartness, which often makes for a bit of an astringent mouthfeel, but here is pleasantly overpowered by the Midnight Wheat to provide the a velvet mouthfeel we've not before experienced in a sour beer. A fantastic winter sour.
Departing the sour train, the final beer making this week's list combines our second favorite drink - coffee - to create the most recently enjoyed lovechild of this union.
Ruse Grizzly Menace - A robust coffee porter that was conditioned on cold brew from Coava, the aroma is all coffee with a combination of coffee and chocolate characteristics in the flavor. Complimenting the aroma and flavor is a silky mouthfeel that could be associated with the use of lactose but here it comes from oats. While we love lactose for the mouthfeel and sweetness it imparts, the use of oats is more appropriate for a porter base and keeps the result from being sweet. We've had IPAs, sours and now a coffee porter from Ruse and we're thoroughly impressed with all of them. You can bet we'll be visiting their space along the orange Max line once it's open, currently slated for early 2018.