Barrelworks’ UnderCurrants

Latest Fruit-Infused, Sour-Leaning Release by Firestone Walker Brewing Company

The collaborative beer universe just got even more ambitious with this bottling, which is made with black currants from Poland, apparently one of the best places on the planet to grow these inky berries.

Harvested whole and immediately preserved with IQF (individual quick freeze) technology, the currants were shipped to Barrelworks in Buellton last summer. Then master blender Jim Crooks tossed them in with 150 barrels of Agrestic Ale, which is the wild-fermented, longer-aged version of Double Barrel Ale, added his own Brettanomyces yeast, and threw the batch into oak foeders for four more months. The final blend needed a bit more Agrestic to mellow out the currant intensity.

The result is a beautifully purple-colored beer that’s both round on the palate with ripe fruit and yet tart with familiar sour-beer flavors. The foam is persistent and creamy, and further study reveals an almost white-pepper kick to the nose. For any fan of this wild side of Firestone Walker, this is one of the better fruit-infused sour beers yet, and it’s likely to well out quickly, as do all of their special batches. It’s the second of five wild ale releases planned for this year and an homage to Russian River Brewing’s Consecration ale, one of the first currant beers on the market.


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