Friday, December 21, 2012

The Bruery Rueuze - Gus #30

Today's review I wanted to do one sort of special for #30.  I was going to do another Christmas brew but this is a winter release from the well renowned brewery from California named The Bruery.  I have had a few things from them and everyone of them have been pretty tasty.  They seem to put lots of effort into each brew and it shines through when you take your first sip.  This one is a style that I don't have a ton of experience with but it's quickly climbing to the top of my favorite styles of brew list.  The Bruery's Rueuze is their take on the classic Gueuze style of beer.  They take differently aged Lambics and blend them together and then barrel age it.  Lambics are a sour brew that can be paired with some type of fruit during the brewing process.  Drinking these can be sour and refreshing at the same time.  They are really good for bottle shares and tastings as they can be easy drinkers between extremely hoppy or huge roasty porters and stouts.  I was extremely excited to find this bottle in one of the stores on my Orlando trip.  It was the last one the store had and I picked it up as soon as I saw it.  Let's get into the review and see what I think of The Bruery's Rueuze.

How it rates with others:

YouTube review:
StumpyJoeJr's Review
(StumpyJoeJr, or Ryan, has a lot of great reviews and is a really nice guy.  Take a look at his stuff when you get the chance.)

ratebeer review:

About the Beer:
Style:  Gueuze
Alcohol by Volume:  5.9%
Release:  Winter

"Rueuze is our take on the traditional Belgian-style blend of lambics of different ages.  We carefully select a number of oak barrels from our warehouse that have been aging our sour blonde ale for various lengths of time and blend them to what we think is the ideal flavor.  This is one complex beer.  Notes of hay, barnyard funk, apricots, and even olives play wonderfully with the balanced acidity."

I poured this brew into my stemmed Jester King glass.

Appearance:  The brew poured a slightly hazy, golden yellow color.  Almost straw in color with very little head.  What head is there is bright white and quickly dissipated to a ring around the glass.  That ring was all but gone as the brew warmed up.  No real signs of alcohol legs on this but, I wouldn't really expect it at 5.9% ABV.  Being bottle conditioned there isnt' anything floating around the glass but, it does have a haziness that you would expect.  It's pretty spot on for the style as far as appearance and is very inviting to take a sip.  

Aroma:  This brew was full of all kinds of interesting aromas.  At first you are hit with a lemony aroma that is quickly followed by a damp wet hay type funkiness.  If you have heard someone say a beer has a wet blanket type aroma but not sure what that means, crack one of these open.  That almost perfectly describes it.  It really nails that barnyard aroma.  It has this musky, earthy undertone that screams this is a sour ale.  Then slight hints of a white vinegar seem to come out.  All of this combines to give you that feeling you get in your mouth right before you pop a War-Head candy, sour straws or something similar in your mouth.  Your jaw tightens a little bit and right below your ears you get that sensation of your mouth getting ready to be hit with intense sour flavor.  I really got excited at this point.  

Taste:  First sip I was instantly hit with a lemony tartness.  It puckered my mouth up and really got the juices flowing.  I was almost overwhelmed with the sour taste being so quick to hit your palate.  Then I took another sip.  Funky wet hay, damp wood shavings and it's all washed by with that almost white vinegar taste.  I really wasn't expecting a vinegar bitterness but it is there.  Maybe a slight olive juice as they brewery describes but more a long the lines of white vinegar.  Super tart and bitter in a really good way.  I know what I'm describing may sound terrible to some, but this is spot on for the style.  It really can be an acquired taste.  Not everyone likes this style of brew and it can take getting used to.  But, I'm loving this one.  Each sip enhances the flavors.  Its sour and funky but makes you want to drink more.  I'm glad this one is only 5.9% ABV because I am easily going to be able to take down the wine bottle full of it.  The mouthfeel is medium light and the bottle conditioning has given it just the right amount of carbonation.  It didn't yield a big head when poured but if it were more carbonated I think the flavor and mouthfeel would be off for the whole brew.  

Verdict:  This brew really gave me all I expected from a Gueuze style and a little more.  The added lemon flavors really helped the sourness to have more flavor than just being sour.  It brought all of the barnyard aromas and flavors and mixed them in well with the funky sours.  The vinegar bitterness was also an added bonus.  I really enjoyed this and would like to have more if it weren't for such a big price tag and limited availability.  It's gotten some mixed reviews on other websites and reviewers but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I'm going to give it an A and it's moving into one of the top brews I've had of the style.  Being a short list, it may get passed by something else but I definitely won't turn it down if it's offered to me!  Pairings for this I think I would have to say a nice fresh salad.  Maybe with some grilled shrimp or chicken.  A nice vinaigrette dressing and some good bleu or feta cheese crumbles in there as well.  I think it would really pair nicely.  The brew is definitely not too heavy to pair with a salad.  If at a bottle share that brings cheeses to pair with the brews, this would go great with anything out of the bleu cheese family.  It would accentuate the flavors in the brew nicely.

Let me know if you have had this brew or any other of the style.  I'm interested to see what others thing of a Gueuze.  I really enjoy them and also like a good many of the Lambics as well.  This being a blended, barrel-aged version makes it even more nice.  I'm starting to really get into the sour ales and really appreciate all they can bring to the aroma and flavor.  See you in the next brew review!