Oozlefinch.proper noun. (US, military) The mascot of the U. S. Army Defense Artillery branch, a mythical featherless, flightless bird that flies backwards to keep dust, trivia and other inconsequential out of his eyes.

Oozlefinch Craft Brewery is very new to the beer scene, opening its doors in September  2016. It is situated on Fort Monroe, a recently decommissioned military base in Hampton, Va. that is steeped in American history. Founder and owner Russel Tinsley and his wife Rebekah began dreaming of opening their own brewery in 2010 and was finally inspired enough to do it after reading a book by Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.

Although Oozlefinch is relatively new, it has recently delved into the process of sour and barrel-aged beers, which brings me to today’s offering, Deep Meditation, a barrel-aged sour imperial saison with cherries. Coming in at 6.9 percent ABV and barely hitting the IBU scale at 2, the process was described as both fun and complex. Different batches of its saison were allowed to sour and ferment in Virginia cabernet franc and Chardonnay barrels. Oozlefinch then blended 100- and 150-day old batches together on top of sweet cherries, then fed the blend with some actively fermenting saison to add complexity to the sugars.

Aged on cherry for over two months, Deep Meditation beer pours an amazing crimson red with a minimal pink head and no lacing. Aroma is fresh with cherries and a great farmhouse funkiness. I also get a bit of black pepper. Taste is very light with the cherries and sourness being the main players. There are touches of yeast rolls, a lightly sweet malt taste and some more pepper round out the flavor profile.

The mouthfeel is fizzy obviously because it is a sour and the tartness falls just short of puckering up the inside of my mouth. Carbonation is high and the finish is dry, tannic and shortlived, leaving only a light cherry bubblegum taste, light but pleasurable.

Oozlefinch Deep Meditation
BREWERY: Oozlefinch Craft Brewery
LOCATION: Monroe, Va.
STYLE: Saison
ABV: 6.9 percent
IBU: 2
PRICE: $7.99
AVAILABLE IN: 500ml bottles
Overall, Deep Meditation is a very refreshing sour saison with the beautiful addition of cherries. There is nothing majorly wrong with this beer but I would have liked for the cherry to last a little longer, especially on the finish. The complexity was good but wonder if a little more aging would have added a higher level of it and condensed the cherry a bit more.
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