Can Wine And Beer Happily Co-Exist (in the same bottle)? #BrewedAwakening
A few months ago my brother Jeff gave me a bottle of the North Brewing X Benjamin Bridge collaboration beer called Saison de Pinot, from the 2016 vintage. I saved it for a special #BrewedAwakening, and the start of spring seemed like the proper occasion to pull the cork.
For those of you who don’t follow Canadian wine, Benjamin Bridge is a highly acclaimed sparkling specialist from the Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia. Last year they had the highest scoring sparkling wine at the National Wine Awards of Canada, and their top wines rival the best from Champagne.
According to the back label, 220 litres of their first collaboration beer, which used Pinot Noir must (the pressed grape juice, still containing some of the solids, like seeds, skins and stems) from 2016 were reserved and barrel aged for 4 months in a used red wine barrel. This resulting beer was bottle conditioned and released on August 29, 2017.
This sour, 6.4% alcohol ale pours very much like a sparkling rosé wine, but then the bubbles disappear quickly and there is no head, and the beer appears flat. Still, the result is an attractive, orangey-pink beer, with only a very slight haze.
The nose is somewhat reminiscent of a fruit lambic, such as those using cherry or raspberry, but is not dominated by brettanomyces. There is no horsiness or medicinal note.
The palate is very pleasing, with a refreshing tartness and very pure fruit notes, like sour cherry or raspberry. There is very little oak character, and very low bitterness, but there is enough sourness that it finishes fresh and clean.
It’s a brilliant example of a wine/beer collaboration that really works.