This "Craft" column is still in its infancy, and as the resident beer enthusiast-turned-beer writer, I've created a rating system to make things interesting. I'm calling it the Drinkability Scale. It ranges from 1 to 5, 1 being the least drinkable and 5 being the most drinkable. I'm defining drinkability as something many people would enjoy. For instance, while I enjoy a strong barrel-aged stout that's hot with alcohol, it would be low on my Drinkability Scale because it doesn't necessarily appeal to the masses. A 5 might be something like Crux's pilsner. It appeals to many types of beer drinkers and I would recommend it to those just beginning to enjoy beer, and to those who "don't really like beer." It might be helpful when deciding what beer to bring to that holiday party!
This is the season I wait for all year. Christmas? New Year? No way! It's Awesome Beer season—or at least that's what I call it. Seasonal beers can be rich, spicy or sparkly. No matter the flavor profile, they tend to be very special beers this time of year. Silver Moon's Contrarium two-pack is in the mix this year. Both beers started out as a Blonde Ale fermented with Brettanomyces yeast and are on tap at Silver Moon right now. The ale was placed in wine barrels to age. I shared the beers with my husband, a home brewer; my grown son, a man on his way to becoming a true beer geek; and my daughter in-law who is newer to the beer scene.
The first bottle we opened was aged in cabernet, syrah and merlot barrels. As I read the description on the side of the beautiful bottle, I had some concern that a blonde ale would become very muddled with the addition of Brett being aged in a barrel—but I was very wrong. The first thing I noticed as I brought this beer up to take a drink was the strong Brett aroma. I expected a sour puckering, but when I drank it, there was no sour punch. Instead there was a balanced and pleasant tang. The barrel and the lightness of the Brett do not overpower this beer at all. In fact, it lent to its complexity. Well played, Silver Moon!
The second bottle was aged in chardonnay barrels. The Brett aroma still exists on the nose of this beer but isn't as bold. Compared to the previous bottle, this beer had an even lighter body, much like that of champagne, and very bright. The flavor was perfection in its simplicity, bringing forward a light woodiness from the barrel and apricot, with a dry finish. This was my favorite of the two, but only by a slim margin.
Our testing team agreed that these beers are a 5 on the drinkability scale. Between the moderate ABV, the bright flavor and light mouthfeel, they're sure to appeal to the wine lover and the selective beer drinker alike. Find them at Trailhead Liquor as well as Broken Top Bottle Shop and Silver Moon's pub.