Bruery Terreux - The Wanderer (2017)
- ABV: 8.3%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 42–49° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Teku, or Pinot Glass
The Wanderer is a special blend of oak-aged beers made with Craig and Beth from City Beer Store in San Francisco. (It ended up winning silver in the wood- and barrel-aged sour fruited ales category at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.)
This dark sour ale blend pours a deep ruby-red color, capped by very light tan foam. This is almost certainly the darkest of the sours featured in this collection, showcasing tart red fruits, bold cherries, and brown sugar in the nose. There’s impactful tartness, focused on lemony citrus and fruity Flemish-red-like qualities plus touches from the wine-barrel aging time.
The aroma really only touches on part of the complexity here. While the blackberries stay subtle, the cherry additions are roundly expressed and nicely tart; there’s expressive, layered fruit all throughout this beer. Tart cherries and currant prove the core emphasis. This one is more overtly like a Flemish-style red than Griffon Bruxellois, with a zesty citrusy acidity and ripe red fruit leading. A vintage release finally hitting its full stride.
This is drinking quite bright and fresh, but could certainly go another six months or more in the cellar. The Bruery suggests pairings of grilled teriyaki skirt steak, char-grilled octopus, or blackberry pie a lá mode.
What The Bruery has done for beer in Orange County, California, while impressive, is just a part of their contribution to the greater brewing landscape. Once just a confusingly named, obscure little brewery from a curiously named little Southern California town, The Bruery is now known to the majority of beer geeks across the country and beyond. They’ve continued to develop their extensive barrel-aging program, launched the Bruery Terreux line, opened The Tasting Room at Bruery Terreux in Anaheim, and ultimately become one of the most respected breweries in the nation. They’ve even recently added a third Bruery location: The Bruery Store at Union Market in Washington, DC, establishing a wee East Coast outpost.
As a result of their unbridled creativity and skilled brewing practices, The Bruery’s beers are still some of the most highly coveted out there, period. It was back in 2009 that they released the beer that took the brewing community by storm: Black Tuesday, a massive imperial stout (clocking in around 20% ABV) aged in bourbon barrels for well beyond a year. Hugely oaky, rich, velvety smooth, and borderline nourishing, it caused both a stir and an annual tradition. The demand for this stout led people to drive and/or fly from hundreds (or even thousands) of miles away.
A handful of breweries have managed to take the “limited-release” concept as far as The Bruery has done with their beers, with annual vintages that sell out in a single day. Some folks have even gone one step further, creating the release equivalent of a serial novel, as The Bruery did with its recently completed 12 Days of Christmas series of annual beers.
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