Libertine Brewing Company - Aubree
- ABV: 6%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 46–53° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Goblet, Chalice or Small Nonic Glass
Libertine Brewing Co.’s wild ales are among the best we’ve ever experienced from the U.S., with layered tartness and precise blending, and we couldn’t possibly pick a better beer from this brewery to start with than the expressive Aubree. This rye saison, like all of Libertine’s wild ales, gets exposed to the local yeast and bacteria through an overnight stay within the brewery’s coolship, which introduces a complex melange of microflora that ultimately helps contribute all sort of nuances to the final product, and this exceptional rye saison is further fermented and barrel aged in French oak. Libertine beers are generally limited to a modest presence in California—and we’re looking forward to getting this saison out into the wild.
Aubree pours a bold golden-orange color, which gets capped by a replenishing, fine-bubbled white foam. This beer essentially glows in the glass, with Champagne-like bubbles and a look that had us thinking of some of our favorite barrel-aged saisons and lambics. While this gets billed as both a wild ale and rye saison, the aromatics had us thinking of Belgian lambics, for sure—as this is mouthwateringly tart, packed with funk and sour lemons, and just immensely structured fermentation-wise for a quieter brewery in California. The aroma is filled with vibrantly tart tree fruits, the rich funk of blue cheese, plus lots of herbs and subtler rye.
So much good stuff going on in this beer... That fine-bubbled carbonation contributes just a ton to Aubree, providing an effervescent lift that gives this saison a plush feel overall. It goes beautifully with the potent, multidimensional sourness, which provides a ton of dimension in terms of both subtle, yeast-y layers and full-on sour: there are potent tart limes, kaffir leaves, plus lemon and passion fruit, in terms of the core fruit components, and the barrel character provides some welcome supporting structure, adding in soft oak tannin and toasted almond.
As some of our longstanding members will know without us saying: we love saisons like this one. Libertine’s Aubree combines a rustic touch of rye with complex tartness, careful barrel-aging, and all of those perfect details that make a barrel-fermented saison like this disappear.
Libertine’s Aubree should continue to develop quite pleasantly in the bottle over six months or more, and it seems structured well enough (despite the 6% ABV) to age with some of the same longevity of certain lambics. Just keep an eye on aging bottles, as this one’s too tasty to lose to oxidation. For food pairings, this beer will be exceptionally versatile. While it’s a little lean in body to stand up to a steak, the lemon, herbaceous and oaky components at the core of this saison seem primed for goat cheese, wood-baked seafood, or herb-roasted chicken.
Libertine Brewing Co. in California’s Central Coast has been responsible for making some of the most exciting wild ales to cross our paths in recent years. The brewery started up back in 2012 and has built a growing name for itself through its use of local wild yeasts and carefully barrel-aged beers. All of their wild ales, including the featured Aubree, spend the night in the brewery’s open-top coolship. As Libertine puts it, “This process allows the local wild yeasts of our area to naturally start the fermentation process. Relying on our environment gives our beers a true Central Coast terroir.” We found Aubree to be a beautifully rendered expression of what the folks at Libertine are up to, with nuanced yeast character and very careful details.
Presuming you find yourself digging Aubree as well, Libertine’s been slowly putting together an exceptional catalog of beers inspired by (and often sourcing ingredients from) the Central Coast. The ongoing line of Authentic SLO Wild Ales most recently incorporated a multi-day blending session of the brewery’s various barrel-aging saisons and golden, wheat and blonde ales—which typically have resided in barrels for between one and three years. Their limited-release Gary, named after the father of Libertine founder Tyler Clark, combines their house saison with Central Coast oaked Chardonnay from The Fableist winery in Paso Robles. And their Pacific Ocean Blue Gose, as one other fun example, makes use of local sea water for its salt addition. Libertine’s also been doing a number of collaborations lately, including a recent well-received hazy pale ale with the folks at Alvarado Street Brewery called Yeast of Burden, made with Simcoe and Medusa hops and released locally in a limited run of 16-ounce cans.
For folks traveling to California’s gorgeous Central Coast, Libertine has got some excellent visiting options. Their original brewpub in Morro Bay is called The Libertine Pub and offers views of the nearby bay and Morro Rock, as well as 48 taps incorporating Libertine beers as well as carefully chosen imported options. In downtown San Luis Obispo is The Libertine: a 9,000-square-foot production facility, as well as the company’s flagship restaurant—offering up 76 taps, a full menu highlighting local farmers and creameries, and what is, appropriately, called “the rarest bottle list in the country.” That sounds like it could be worth a stop. There is also a new Libertine tasting room planned for Buellton, and if you’re into barrel-aged cold brew (or think you might be), consider the quaint Libertine Coffee Bar in downtown SLO.
Though Libertine Brewing Co. has definitely been making its presence known in the Central Coast, their beers can still take a good bit of effort to track down, with distribution generally limited to parts of California through Lime Ventures and Local Craft. We’re excited to have enough Aubree allocated for a featured club offering—and we think you’re going to love it. For the latest Libertine releases, openings and more, check out www.libertinebrewing.com.
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