Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 26: Trevor and the tale of Petrus Aged Pale

Hello again dear reader.  As we continue our beer adventure, I can't help but wonder if choosing "barrel aged" as a style was misleading, as virtually any beer can be barrel aged.  It's not a style, so much as a technique, as we've seen from the incredibly diverse offerings so far.  Well, today's choice is no different.  Hailing from Bavik Brewery, one of Belgium's largest, family owned brewing superpowers, Petrus Aged Pale has been highly decorated in recent years, laying claim to Europe's Best Wood Aged Beer, the World's Best Specialty Pale Ale, and the World's Best Wood Aged Beer awards at the 2011 World Beer Awards.  Petrus, which is derived from the Latin word for "Rock", is commonly used to designate St. Peter who, like the Petrus Bottle proclaims, holds "The Key To Heaven".  That's quite a reputation, and more than a little pompousness to measure up to.

The key to Heaven?  Not so fast....

The beer pours a crystal clear, golden straw color, with a fluffy two fingers of head that hangs around about 5 minutes.  Normal so far.  It's when I take the first whiff that I realize I'm entering the funky realm.  The nose is Brettanomyces, barnyard, and green apple, emphasis on the GREEN.  The taste follows suit, adding white grape to the party, in case it wasn't already interesting enough.  The oak taste is there, but subdued, and serves more to blend all of the other very loud flavors together.  The mouthfeel is balanced, with the malt standing up respectably to the bitterness from the brett, and whatever hops are involved.

I have to say this beer caught me by surprise.  I thought something aged in oak barrels for 20 months would be distinctly woody, but I failed to consider that the porous nature of wood allows for wild yeast and bacteria to play games with the contents.  The result is sour and refreshing at once, and highly drinkable, in fact, I was about to try and figure out if there is anything I don't like, but the glass is empty, so.....

I give it an A. 

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