Side Project, Missouri
7% Flanders (?) Awa aged in wine barrels
God talk about the most controversial SP beer to date. People already blew their loads over fuzzy and when this came out a mere weeks later, everyone was so saddle sore that they had no choice but to grumble and hem and haw. I have heard everything from glowing impressions comparing this to Blabby and hate speech saying this is a phenolic nail polish remover unfit for even Canadian consumption.
So what’s the real deal? Is it an acid bomb? Does it bring balance to the super tart SP catalog? Like a well placed maxipad, it lies somewhere strategically in between.
First and foremost, this isn’t a Flanders in the strictest sense. Sure the grist bill and best intentions may have started that way, but if this is a Flanders then Wanderer is a Rodenbach clone. It is slightly muddy but has a charming violent and plum aspect to it and contrasts the burnt amber when illuminated. You don’t get that straight magenta foam from most BilberZille offerings but it is serviceable in appearance.
The smell gets roughed up in the octagon by two opposing forces. On one hand we have the ultra pleasant blueberry and plum tannins imparting a slight juiciness and you want to hold their palms and run through the verdant clearing. At all times is an auspicious acetic harbinger of death that looms at cold temperatures threatening a red wine vinegar portent that speaks of grave implications. If you aren’t some toddler tier tickers with two ounce pours, you can let this open up and the real sweet spot is in the mid 60s temp when the two work in tandem. The berry bringing a happy depth and the acidic a cruel reminder of the baleful nature of the Flanders style and its angrier progeny: oud bruin. So the depression from the deeply acidic aspect is rounded out with a gentle sweetness like a well balanced Ivan Reitman film.
The taste reflects the foregoing and leans more toward the acidity and lactic dosing you have come to expect but never veers over the median into oncoming acidic traffic like Upland or Cascades blueberry offerings. It’s that special genus of overly acidic the you tolerate like a really slutty cousin, you know he is gonna grow out of this gaudy phase and into a well rounded individual. It’s better than chevalier but tough to place in the same realm as flora BALs and Lucy blue simply because it lacks a subtlety and nuance in that it punches in BERRY FLANDERS ACIDITY AND SCENE . If Al Pacino had a blueberry monologue this would be his emphatic delivery, that doesn’t mean you aren’t gonna still watch Hear for like the 50th time. I mean come on, blueberry bank robbery; it’s amazing.
So in summation, it’s a very good offering and ties back some of the loose threading that the prior ultra acidic side project offerings suffered from, if you have a curved cock and need a definitive SP ranking list, here you go:
Blanc du blanc
Saison du ble
Brett project 1
Brett venture 1
Black and mild
Once I tick those fruited fermiers I will keep you posted but for now I hope this gives some context to a brewery that continues to improve.
Writing praise is no fun. I need to start drinking shittier beers.
I am the best at what I do.