As we wound our way through Richmond last weekend, a few definitive plans were on our schedule. One of them was to catch some beer release parties, which are always a blast. But when one is a release party at Strangeways, you never know what you are going to get. And that is the best part. Through the custom cars and live music, we worked our way into the tasting room to get our hands on this new beer from their ‘Sours & Wilds’ collection and found it to be a little of both.
Guarded By Monkeys, Strangeways Brewing Company (Richmond, VA)
Biere de Garde, ABV: 5.5%, IBU: 29
Presentation: Tap pour into 13oz tulep.
Appearance: Cloudy dark orange. Light able to penetrate top and edges. Head was tinted orangish white, sat up one finger and dissipated at normal rate.
Smell: Heavy oak and grape/plum fruit almost sour. Slight sweetbread notes.
Taste: Oak barreling and slight sourness hits you first, rounding into a grape/wine middle, with the Brett yeast poking through middle to end.
ABV/IBU Mouthfeel: It goes from the start of a sour to a well rounded oaked beer. More tart that sour. No significant ABV/IBU impact. Reminiscent of a very well aged merlot. Once you cut through the tart front, body evens out.
Overall: First off, I really enjoy this beer. The oak and fruit is noticeable throughout this beer and it is not too heavy to sit back and sip on this in the late spring/early summer. Is it a true BdG? It is close enough. It hits the high end on the SRM color scale for the beer and on the lower end of ABV in the Biere de Garde range. But Strangeways isn’t about to conform to a set grouping of styles. I would put this beer halfway between a BdG and a Gose, with the merits of each exhibited in this concoction. Really try this beer next to some of the other sour/wilds at Strangeways to really appreciate what they are doing with this particular beer. Nonetheless, this beer might be worth the trip to Strangeways alone.