Baby boomers know what it’s like to experiment. They grew up in the days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. They ride in the coattails of the greatest generation and they made a lot of mistakes – some that resulted were called millennials. Like their parents, millennials aren’t afraid to break boundaries, however unlike their kin, they are often willing to try things that their beatnik parents would scoff at. “What’s that you’re drinking Kayden? A non lagered beer with estate grown organic lemons from Connecticut that tastes sour? You kids have no idea what it’s like to live in the real world.” Relax pops, it’s something that you just don’t understand. In fact, many people may not understand what it’s like to be a little eccentric. Thankfully, that’s OEC’s middle name. Literally. How will a lemon sour wine-gin aged beer taste? How about we stop wondering and start experimenting.
Appearance: Hazy yellow like a 8:00 sunset in July. This beer looks like summer. No head, but so inviting – its golden colored body is as pretty as a flowing, sun drenched blonde hair.
Smell: Lemon drops. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when giving this a whiff. Tart, but cloyingly sweet at the same time. The lemon I’m getting is all flavor and no sour… if that makes sense. The harsh acidity and fierce citrus I thought I’d get is really dialed back and instead there is a sweeter, more approachable beer in my glass than I would have imagined.
Taste: What’s happening inside of my mouth is very interesting. There are a lot of flavors going on at the same time that it’s hard to sort things out. One noticeable (and relatively expected) flavor is that of the lemons. It’s not like what you’d get when squeezing lemon into water, but more like the smell of a freshly zest lemon. The the lemon adds flavor and not an overwhelming amount of tartness, though the beer is fairly sour. I would contribute that tartness to the barrel aging process – I honestly don’t feel as if the astringency and acidity of the lemon is contributing much to the sourness in here (not to sound like a broken record). The second big flavor I’m getting is the wood. You can taste all 16 months of the aging process with this guy. Mick Dodge would love this brew. It’s the second most wood forward beer I’ve had and is ringing bells of Ralph by the Ale Apothecary. There is some pineyness in this brew, though it’s much more subdued than Ralph, yet it still adds a lot of earthiness. I’m not sure if that earthiness is ramped up by the botanicals from the gin, the wood, the wine, or the lemons, but its there for sure. Though this is clearly a sour beer, the tartness is what least jumps out to me. The flavors here are so pronounced that you almost forget about how puckering this beer is. It is balanced by some sweetness so it’s a little deceiving, but it’s still a classic old world sour.
The mouthfeel is on the heavier side for being a mere 4.8%… OEC brews tend to be full bodied even though they are always barrel aged and vary with ABV. The carbonation is light, which also boots the mouthfeel and is also a classic indicator of an OEC sour. The beer is super drinkable and has enough intrigue to keep you interested though all 750mLs.
Overall: It’s certainly not coming close to the best sour I’ve had, but it is really interesting. I appreciate that about OEC. I’ve never had a beer from them where I haven’t thought to myself, “hmmmmm.” The flavors and the originality of this beer make it worth while. The eccentricity of this brew bumps it to a B+/A-. Grades the babyboomers never saw in their lives.