Today we have an aging matriarch from the days of the Speedway Jim top 100 white whale list aka them extinct speedwales. If you are a johnny come lately to the beer game who covets King Henry and thinks that Sr-71 should trade on par with Zomer, chances are you have no fucking idea what this is. To those people, Bottleworks is that one store that sometimes sells Deviation, and that’s it. To everyone else Bottleworks is the proto-City Beer model of classic bottle shop meets beer culture hub from the old tymie days. This is the tenth anniversary bottle brewed by New Belgium, 1400 bottle one off released in 2009.
It might even pull a single bottle of Vanilla Rye if you are lucky.
New Belgium, Colorado
American Wild Ale, 6.5% abv
For some reason Hair of the Dog also posted up hard in the trap and brewed Matt for Bottleworks X that year, so this old gem is often forgotten under the sands of ticker time. This bottle represents something larger for New Belgium as a ubiquitous ultra micro giant, the end of a non-pasteurized, brewery only fun times era. Now you usually hear about them when your drunk stepdad tells you about how he loves “Fat Tire Brewing Company” and you nod in sad reflection, thinking of Caged and corked la folies past.
This beer is foeder fermented la folie, la terroir and a golden ale blended together and bottled live, un pasteurized, rolling monocultures all raw dog.
The pour immediately looks more beautiful than both Twisted Spoke and 2009 cage and corked la Folie. You can hardly pull your penis out on the metro without someone mentioning those two beers next to this one. The pour is a ruddy burnt orange and light amber that radiates like a turbid blood orange cocktail, with the carb still billowing flawlessly with determined cling. It isn’t that dark auspicious deep mahogany of its contemporaries and it looks great.
The nose thankfully doesn’t exhibit any of the acetic red wine vinegar aspects of the 09 la folie and instead has tangerine zest, Brie cheese rind, clementines, sliced honeydew, oak and pencil shavings, a touch of light construction paper oxidation and a red berry closer that lingers. The whole affair puckers the bunghole air tight and there is no seepage, no weeping. For all the things that time could have denatured, it has unquestionably improved this beer to a level without contemporary analogue. There’s a degree of musk and earthiness that only time can accomplish, despite what some kettle souring Colorado charlatan may tell you.
The taste is a touch more acidic than the nose suggests but the creamy mouthfeel with ultra fine jacuzzi bubbles offsets the acrimonious effect. It pushes a raspberry and grapefruit pith, there’s a bit of vanilla and Chardonnay staves, white grape that is equally moscato sweet and tart like rainier cherries. The whole experience is a many faced God and a ticker never forgets.
I feel like the aging grampa in the 80’s complaining “they don’t make ’em like this no more” and referencing the non pasteurized, aged, meticulous Detroit steel beers from the past. This is truly a magnificent, highly drinkable gem that stands in stark contrast to so many of the ultra acidic offerings clouding today’s lacto and ultra Brett L focused market.
Yet another entry in the ever expanding journal of “this near extinct beer is great, seek it out” annals. DDB is a useless resource, I need to switch to 140 char UNTAPPD reviews for the millennials with short, heavily-medicated attention spans. SOMEDAY