What would you like served up first, the good news or the bad news? Let start with the bad and get it out of the way.
Bearded Eel Craft Brewery of Fort Worth, Texas is closing its doors at the end of this year. Now for the good news you say? Well, it’s two-fold as far as this review is concerned. First of all, Bearded Eel has promised to publish all of its beer recipes online for home brewers. And secondly, if Purple Unicorn is indication, the beer is delicious, a very drinkable infusion of various brewing styles.
Bearded Eel’s own description of this veritable beer cocktail is:
We took the base of a Wit Beer, hopped it like an IPA, and fermented with a blend of farmhouse yeast to create Purple Unicorn. Citrus notes lead the taste followed by a peppery farmhouse funk, and the earthy bitter rounds out the flavor.
And further, the bottle label reads “…citrus up front, yeast in the middle, and bitter & funky on the back end, resulting in a taste as rare as a purple unicorn.”
Transferred from the 22-ounce bottles to snifter, the pour is a cloudy tangerine with a creamy white head. Minimal evidence of carbonation was present, but the view could very possibly have been obscured by the rich unfiltered fog you might expect from anything with “wit” in the name. So, more about the name – let’s break it down a bit. Farmhouse, also known as saison, is a relatively wide ranging style mostly rooted in tradition and a brewing process derived more out of what was available at the time of its inception. This is where Purple Unicorn finds its spiced yeast footing. Moving on, “wit” is translated to wheat for us English speakers. As that would imply, wheat is the main player. This is the source of Purple Unicorn’s cloudiness and dry malt body. Lastly, there is the all familiar India pale ale flair. I’ll dispense with the history of this style given its huge popularity with all of us hop heads and beer geeks. In summary, Purple Unicorn is a very well-executed amalgamation of respectable brewing styles.
The nose is a light floral and sweet citrus harmony followed by a graceful reminder that it’s an adult beverage and doesn’t mix well with the operation of heavy machinery. The carbonation is ideal. Purple Unicorn is a refreshing and crisp drinker with a well-blended balance despite its multiple personality disorder. The taste is quite representative of the olfactory interpretation, floral and herbal followed by a yeast driven India pale ale punch.