You have to love a collaboration beer. Two breweries put their heads together to make a beer that—if all goes well—is a combination of the best of both brewery’s expertise. So when I saw craft powerhouse Firestone Walker had teamed up with a smaller California brewer that had been on my radar, I knew it was a beer I wanted to try.
That small brewer is Sante Adairius Rustic Ales. The temporarily closed-due-to-COVID brewer is benefitting from the distribution footprint and reputation of Firestone Walker. The two teamed up to create Big Mood, a wild ale aged in French wine barrels with apricots and white wine grapes—all from California, of course.
Big Mood is housed in the typical Firestone Walker Barrelworks cork-and-cage bottle. The beer is fairly typical looking as well, with just a bit of haziness to it’s dull, golden-orange body. Luckily, the aroma is anything but usual. Without even getting close to the glass, huge waves of white wine and apricot immediately waft through the air and draw me in for a sip.
The team at Firestone Walker says Big Mood “will hypnotize you into thinking you’re drinking an apricot mimosa,” and I couldn’t agree more. The apricot and wine are so prominent, with a fruity tartness that is plenty sour but won’t wreck your palate. I was excited to see how Sante Adairius’ fingerprints would show up on Big Mood, and it seems like it’s the champagne-esque effervescence. That’s a quality I’ve never experienced in a Firestone Walker brew, and it allows the fruit to play perfectly.
Two acclaimed brewers, French wine barrels, California-grown white wine grapes and apricot—that’s a Big Mood.