The limited release Brüeprint Brett Saison is an effervescent, delicately sour ale with a lot of character.
The Apex brewery’s Saison de Brue, a summer seasonal saison (say that three times fast!) with figs and honey, was first put into American oak wine barrels to age. It was then bottle-conditioned with more honey and naturally carbonated from the native microflora.
It’s difficult to taste honey used in beer-making unless the amount used is more than 20 percent of the total fermentables. Most honey flavors come from malt, and even then, honey in beer is usually a sign of aged beer. In the case of the Brett Saison, the honey is used as a blending component.
The aroma of the beer contains medium notes of white grape juice and oak. There is a low sourdough in the background from the wood barrel and yeast and notes of honey from the malt.
In the mouth, the Brett Saison is delicately balanced, and you can easily pull out a lot of flavors without having to work too hard. The sourdough aroma mixes with the honey flavor from the malt and inspires thoughts of pastry. A moderate amount of hop bitterness is present, but without any hop flavor. This is typical of a low-hopped beer that has been aged. There is also a light tartness from the wild yeast bacteria and acidity from the tartaric acid, or grape acid, left in the wine barrels. These acids will increase the grape juice flavors in any beer left in freshly dumped wine barrels, and the Brett Saison is no different. The white grape juice is there with an in-your-face intensity.
This beer finishes fairly dry from the balance of bitterness, acidity, oak tannins and carbonation. The carbonation is less than champagne but more than most beers. There is a hint of astringency on the end, but no more than a light red wine.
Overall, this beer is delicate with a low amount of wild yeast character and subtle acidity. The Brett Saison would pair well with a salad or lighter cheeses, but it has enough complexity to be talked about for a long time by itself.