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Judge's Review: 96 Rating - Brouwer’s 14th Anniversary by pFriem Family Brewers

July, 2019
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
38 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
20 / 20

Brouwer’s 14th Anniversary by pFriem Family Brewers is a fruited “lambic inspired ale” and is being evaluated as a Fruit Lambic (category 23F from the 2015 BJCP Beer Style Guidelines). Lambics are known for their sourness and wild characters that are naturally (or “spontaneously”) imparted by airborne yeast and bacteria. Fruit Lambics impart an additional dimension to the beer with the fruit flavors (the fruit sugars can be either fermented out to dryness or the beer can be back sweetened). pFreim’s “lambic inspired ales” are fermented with a blend of Brettanomyces and lactic acid bacteria cultures and are aged in oak. In the 14th Anniversary, huckleberries foraged from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest are added to the barrels at a rate of one pound per gallon.

14th Anniversary pours golden in color with a slight haze and a fading rim of white head. The aroma is moderately funky with aromas of hay, barnyard, and a hint of horse blanket along with a hint of cherry-like dark fruit. The flavor is moderate-light lactic sourness with a light sweetness and black cherry-like dark fruit. The funky characters take a background in the flavor but there is still a trace of leather and hay. The complexity in the flavor is tremendous with a melding of the lactic sourness, wild flavors, dark fruit, subtle sweetness over a light oakiness. The finish has moderate lactic acidity over a slightly sweet dark fruit with a light oaky flavor.

This is a fantastic sour beer. It is sour and funky but not over-done; the huckleberries provide a sweetness to balance the tartness and the fruit flavors provide complexity to the wild flavors. Enjoy!