Wild ciders from France have always been my favorite cider style. They are generally wild fermented, giving them a farmhouse brett character that I love, and are fermented in a way that leaves a bit of residual sugar and results in natural carbonation. The best part of these ciders is that they are burst with apple flavor and have a really nice tannin structure and color due to the time the juice spends on the skins of the apple.
If you are interested in the production of these types of cider, Dave Takush wrote a nice blog post about how they are made and his approach at 2Towns. We wanted to take the idea of aging the juice on the entire apple and apply it to our beer. The Willamette valley is full of apple orchards and we have several surrounding Eugene. For this project we worked with our friends at Detering Orchards to select a blend of their apples that would marry well with a saison we had in barrels for about 18 months. The apples were halved and placed into one of our small fruiting tanks then the beer was racked into the tank. The beer took about a week to show signs of fermentation from the natural yeasts on the apples and in another couple of weeks the beer was back to dryness and we racked it off the apples. From there, we bottle conditioned the beer for about six months.
Pomme is a hybrid ale somewhere between a wild beer and cider. Leaving the beer on the skins for this amount of time gave it a dark golden hue and a complex tannin structure. On the pallet this beer is very reminiscent of the complex wild ciders of Normandy, slightly sweet, slightly bitter, a good dose of funk and finishes with a light acidity. This beer drinks great now and will age gracefully for years to come! Santé!