Every craft brewer has a sense of adventure and creativity that fuels the constant obsession with brewing new beers. Without it they would not be a craft brewer. Like many breweries around the country Odell in Fort Collins, Colo. feeds that creativity by experimenting with small batch beers that include a variety of different brewing techniques, recipes and ingredients. Most of these one off creations are released in the tasting room for locals to enjoy but rarely make it outside of the brewery.
A select few of these experimental beers graduate to the brewery’s Cellar Series of beers. The Cellar Series is a limited release line of beers that celebrate those tasting room experiments by bottling and sending them out for fans across the country to enjoy.
In May 2014, Odell released a new addition to the series with Jaunt.1 Jaunt is an ale brewed with wheat and pilsner malt and there house yeast strain. Once primary fermentation is complete the beer is aged in stainless steel tanks with oak staves and Riesling grape juice.2 This beer and wine hybrid is then bottle conditioned and packaged in 750ml bottles.
Sadly, Odell does not distribute to my home state of California but thanks to Tenemu I get another chance to try one of there fine offerings. As I crack open my bottle of Jaunt it pours a hazy golden color with a fluffy white head. On first glance it appears to have a good amount of carbonation and decent head retention. I raise the glass to my nose and get a big Belgian yeast presence. Very reminiscent of a Belgian golden or pale. There is also a very noticeable white grape note along with some sweet honey, wheat and the slight hint of pear. The nose is subtle and includes the notes you would expect in this beer based on the description but it lacks excitement or character that would make it really stand out.
As I take my first sip I get a lot of the same characteristics as the nose. Jaunt comes off like a blend of a Belgian golden ale and a Riesling. It starts with the Belgian yeast esters, wheat and a touch of biscuit. Around the middle of the sip you start to get a mild sweetness that is a welcome addition and then the Riesling grapes show up to the party. It has a heavy white grape skin quality that dominates the finish.