Laughter is the best medicine? Not according to this apothecary. Tucked away in Bend, Oregon lies The Ale Apothecary. A brewery focusing on old world, small batch, and unordinary brewing. Founded by Deschuttes’ former brewer, Paul Arney, this brewery isn’t afraid to march to the beat of their own drum. Case and point is the beer being brought to you today: Ralph. Aged for over 1 year in oak barrels and dry ‘hopped’ with fir needed from Oregon trees. I’m just as curious as you are. Let’s run them numbers
Appearance: Cloudy golden brown with a head that vanished as quick as you could say “fir needles.” No lacing as I went.
Smell: Very woody and very musty. Tree bark, earthy, dirt, and sour. Strange to say the least.
Taste: Woah, so interesting. This really strange… it’s like somebody filtered Coolship Resurgam or Tilquin Squared through cheesecloth with tree bark, wet wood, and pine cones. It’s sour, but it is the most earthy beer I’ve ever had. Those fir needles are front and center; I must say I’m kind of shocked with how much pine tree I’m getting out of this. The most prominent flavor I’m getting besides the great outdoors is lemon and some stone fruit. The brew actually finished with some sweetness and is not at all overly dry, which again is unique for a sour. Ralph was lightly carbonated but had a more viscus mouthfeel to it, perhaps in part to an ABV of 7.22%.
Overall: I’m still not quite sure what to make of this. I can’t help but think I’m drinking dirt at points during this session. Other times Pinesol. Other times tree bark. I’ll give it a B-/C. It’s not particularly enjoyable, but it is one heck of an experience that I’ll likely never have again. It tastes like hiking.