Many of the beers that we have made at Alesong are not particularly hop forward. But it doesn't mean we don't use hops. In fact, I'm told we'll lose our "PNW Brewer" card if we don't find a good way to use hops in our beers. However, it is true that we are not known for making IPAs, Double IPAs, and the slew of red, black, white, and hazy versions we see on the market today. Since we take so much influence from Belgian beers and especially farmhouse-style beers, you won't see a lot of highly bittered American hoppy beers in our lineup (although we may have a treat for you hopheads soon ;-) Stay tuned!).
But starting with 2016's Touch of Brett, we have been excited to explore how citrusy American Hops play with Brettanomyces yeast in primary fermentation. Many beers that are fermented with Brett in stainless, highlight tropical fruit flavors such as pineapple, mango, and passion fruit. Sometimes citrus notes of orange and lemon and lime can even come forward, or even stone fruits like peach and apricot. These fermentation flavors find a hook in the huge aromas found in many of the most popular varieties of American hops today.
In the fall of 2016, we were fortunate enough to earn a gold medal in the Brett beer category of the Great American Beer Festival in Denver Colorado with our first blend of Touch of Brett. That beer was dry hopped with Citra hops and displayed many of the aforementioned tropical and citrus flavors and aromas. From that batch on (only our fourth beer brewed), we've continued to produce Brett beers using different strains of Brettanomyces yeast and different American hops. Many of these Saisons are still aging in barrels, but for this release we have the second in our Touch of Brett series. This time, we were able to get Mosaic hops, thanks to a brewer friend who had some extra. We hopped it at about 3/4 of a pound of hops per barrel after fermentation was complete (the definition of dry-hopping), and the beer suddenly popped with wonderful tropical and floral notes and hints of grapefruit.
Mosaic hops, new to the industry in 2012, are highly sought after and oft considered one of the new 'cool kid' hops. I just like how they taste and smell. Some have even described them as similar to a 'dry gewurtztraminer experience' where you can have big fruit punch flavors in a dry beverage. There is a perception of sweet flavor even though hops aren't providing any sweetness. In Touch of Brett-Mosaic, I get that tropical and citrus flavor and aroma and since the brett has fermented the beer so dry, there is a sensation of acid on the tongue, not unlike when you enjoy a juicy citrus fruit like grapefruit or a slightly unripe lychee fruit. Touch of Brett-Mosaic has a wonderful nose from the Mosaic hops that invites you to your first sip. It is dry and fruity, and the flavors from the Brett fermentation envelope the tropical notes in the hops, providing a refreshingly complex finish.
We hope you enjoy our most recent Brett-fermented Saison topped with this exquisite hop, Mosaic.