Brett the Hipman Hop
Brewery: Against the Grain (Louisville, KY)
Style: American Sour Ale
Apparently I’m a sucker for pro wrestling puns because I could not resist trying Against the Grain’s “Brett the Hipman Hop“, part of their All Funked Up Wild Series. I wasn’t aware of what I was getting myself into — all I knew was that it was a pale ale, and that it was brewed with brettanomyces. If only I knew what brettanomyces meant…
Expecting a standard pale ale of some sort, I was surprised when I saw a light yellow liquid pour out of my 22oz bomber. It did not look like a pale ale at all, at least not the type I was anticipating. It was then that I realized (thanks to Wikipedia) that brettanomyces is in fact a type of yeast used to provide sourness to a beer.
Now, I am not a huge fan of sour ales. I gained an appreciation of them while touring the legendary Cantillon Brewery in Brussels, but they are something I can only drink on rare occasions. That might have to change after trying “Brett the Hipman Hop” (is it sad that makes me crack up every time I write it?).
This is a damn good beer. One might even say it is “the excellence of execution” when discussing American-made sour ales (yeah, I couldn’t resist). The smell is off the charts; very funky, very complex. The taste is all over the place. It’s definitely tart, and I noticed some hints of lemon and grapefruit. It has a dry and bitter finish, and the aftertaste bounces around on the tongue.
Once you get over the initial funkiness, it’s quite the enjoyable beer. It has a ton of flavor, it’s unique, and it would make a great gateway for someone looking to dig deeper into the world of sour/wild ales. I wouldn’t quite say it’s “the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be”, but it’s high on my list.