Briefly on Brettanomyces

Thursday, October 01, 2015
Brettanomyces yeast, or ‘Brett’ if you’re getting your beer-geek on, is a totally ridiculous thing to add to beer. It undoes half of the hard work the brewer did in getting the beer to this point unscathed. It knocks the citrus out of a hoppy beer, it roughs up the edges of a sparklingly clear pale ale, it creates a slightly sour, dusty base note that scratches at the back of your throat as you dive in lips first through a dauntingly rocky white head of froth expanding from the glass.

In general, it totally fucks a beer up beyond recognition - and boy do I love it.

There’s just something about brett that adds a complexity to beer, even an extra level of dry refreshment – thanks perhaps to some of the remaining sugars in the beer being gobbled up by the hungry invader – that makes it equally recognisable and addictive.

It’s a little bit wild, rough even, but used right it can be beautifully balanced too. It takes beer in a new direction, makes Orval one of the greatest beers in the world, and elevates the Straffe Hendrik Tripel ‘Wild’ to the next level. Dusty in a good way, horseblanket if you’re feeling fancy, dry in a salted cracker sense, bitter like dried herbs.

Delicious in more ways than you can put your finger on.