Last week was a rather weird one, I twice ended up losing whole swaths of tasting notes and drafts for a couple of blog posts I had been working on. Now I know, have a back-up! Write it down they say! I usually do both of those things it just turns out I had reworked these drafts from their written versions as I though the originals weren’t that good.
Moving on, last week on my lunch hour I randomly popped into Dépanneur Peluso’s new digs on Beaubien, this new space is very nice, with a pretty wide selection. Lo and behold I snapped to attention when I saw a new release by Brasserie Harricana. I will have to make a separate post/rant on the intensity of my love for this brewery/pub, let’s just say I’ve got a crush.
This one’s from their new green label (7205 named in honor of the address of their new tasting room…more to come) of ephemeral, experimental barrel aged beers, limited and never to be repeated.
It turns out. 001 was one that I had sampled during Chambly beer fest, I had enjoyed it but was absolutely smitten by a crisp refreshing rye beer that day (#56 American Rye Session) and therefore didn’t spend as much time on it. 001 clocks in at 8% abv. it is a vatting of 3 different beers it’s composed of 50% strong wheat beer, 25% mixed fermentation Witbier and 25% Belgian double. All aged in red & white wine casks with Brettanomyces, they we’re then re-fermented with a large quantity of blackberries.
Ok you with me so far, it seems convoluted but it’s very much keeping in line with the style of barrel aged blending that is rising in popularity (in North America at least).
You’ll have to excuse me as I am pulling my tasting notes from memory but this was a distinct enough beer for me to remember the impression it left on me.
The nose has a good presence of wet grains, damp oak and some sharpness, the funk is not over present and the fruit/berry seems to have transformed into a feeling of crushed grapes.
The palate: is immediately sharp, the acidity and tannins are present but not overpowering, when that damp funk mixes with the blackberries, it taste almost like blackcurrants. The finish is super short but then it returns with a bit of spice, pepper and a feeling of drinking Malbec.
This beer walks such a tightrope, the sharpness and tannins are well balanced, the secondary fermentation with the berries provides a necessary respite from the dank cellar notes of the wild yeasts. The oak and the fruits combine to make something akin to wine, if it wasn’t the presence of the grains reminding you that this is beer. A blend that has immense crossover appeal, I would be curious to pair this beer with food. The brewers and blenders at Harricana have a very skilled touch with these fruit and grape adjuncts as is demonstrated in many of their other products.