The American craft beer scene is an abundant landscape filled with an endless selection of styles and choices. Thanks to the shear number of breweries in this country there is no shortage of options no matter what peculiar style you are in the mood for. Rewind just a few years ago and this wasn’t the case. For example, if you wanted to get your hands on a good American wild ale you really had to put some work in. Brewing with bacteria and brettanomyces was not commonplace and the list of stateside brewers that were competent at it was short.
These days it seems like every day I hear of a brewery announcing a funky side project or a new sour program. This is music to my ears as a lover of brett and bacteria fermented beers. One of the fine examples of the recent wave of sour beer producers is Oddwood Ales out of Austin, Texas. Oddwood Ales is the brainchild of Taylor Ziebarth the owner and head brewer of Adelbert’s brewery. Oddwood gave Ziebarth a venue to dive into the world of wild ales and he hit the ground running in late 2014 with his first release of Oddwood’s take on a saison.
The saison was a big success and a second released hit the streets in April of the following year.
Today I have a bottle of that second release and as tart saisons are one of my favorite styles I am excited to see what Oddwood has to offer. Once the cage is removed the cork easily pops out with a nice pop. The beer pours a beautiful golden straw color with a slight haze. A finger of frothy white head appears with a moderate pour. Before taking my first sip I raise the glass and get a wonderful bouquet of white wine, citrus and hints of oak.
The brett makes its presence known with an earthy straw like character. I also get a bit of lactic acid on the nose as well giving me a glimpse of the tartness to come. My first sip brings many of the same characteristics as the aroma. The white wine and citrus flavors jump out first followed by the contribution from the brett. I would not go as far as using barnyard as a descriptor, but more of a musty character with a hint of spice. I also get just enough oak to lend another layer to the brew without being overly tannic.