I love when a brewery creates an alter ego to brew beers that are experimental or just don’t quite fit with its usual ethos. The Bruery’s subsidiary Offshoot Brewing is a great example of that latter situation, with a barrel-aged wild ale specialist branching out into IPAs and pale ales. Meanwhile, up in Connecticut, Two Roads Brewing Company is getting weird with its sister brewery Area Two Experimental Brewing.
One of Area Two’s most recent offerings really caught my eye: a wild ale that is Brettanomyces-fermented with pinot noir grapes and then aged in red wine barrels, appropriately named Brett Noir. It’s locked into a Great Gatsby-esque black and white can that feels very 1920s luxury. The beer pours a blend of copper and ruby red with very little head and solid clarity.
For a beer with so much going on from kettle to can, Brett Noir features a pretty light aroma. It does at least give away the wine and brett, but smells a little watery or thin. The flavor follows the same path, lacking the wallop of flavor I’d expect knowing the fermentation and aging process Brett Noir went through. It’s much more reserved and subtle than I’d hoped and lightly tart more than sour, with the grape coming through quietly as well.
Brett Noir is a good beer, that much is for sure, but I’d love for Area Two to crank up the tartness, hammer me with jammy, winey grapes or oaky barrel—give me some more of that luxuriousness that the can art portends.