What: Side Project Brewing Blanc de Blancs (10% abv) [Batch 1 (released 9/24/14)]. A biere de champagne fermented in chardonnay barrels with chardonnel grapes.
How we had it: Out of 375ml bottle into a side project stemmed tulip.
What we saw: A hazy orange/gold color. Little to no head on the pour and fades almost immediately leaving only a ring of white bubbles hugging the glass. Held against a white back drop the color turns more to a straw yellow. The beer screams farm to us. It's a really pleasant beer to look at and get you excited to see what's coming.
What we smelled: Immediately you're hit with a really nice fruity tartness - so much so your mouth will begin to water. The tartness is followed by a slight sweetness, presumably from the white grapes. Just like a nice white wine, a slight minerality is picked up on the nose too; almost like a blend between a slight oak chardonnay and a sauvignon blanc. A bit of oak comes through and as it warms just a bit, you'll pick up some funky cheesy notes. A really nice nose on this beer and very complex.
What we tasted: Wow! Immediate tartness refreshes your palate and makes your mouth water. White grape is prevalent throughout, playing into the tartness up front all while providing a residual sweetness that balances the beer out. Let the beer sit on your tongue a little while and get ready to grab that beautiful sour grape. The beer seems to coat your teeth and tongue. The body perfectly balances the flavors and leaves you craving another sip. The oak comes through in the finish which reminded us of a really delicate dry champagne (hence the name). Almost like drinking a funky, barnyard champagne - awesome!
What we thought: This beer is absolutely fantastic. For those lucky enough to have gotten a bottle of this extremely limited release, count your blessings. The best part about this beer was the complexity on every level, beginning with the look of the beer, the nose on the beer, and ending in the taste. Each sensory experience topped by the next. We drank it on its own to really experience the subtleties and nuances of this wild ale but could really see this as a beer you could drink with an assortment of cheeses. Some cheeses we would recommend are a fresh goat cheese, a creamy brie or a funky Camembert. The acidity from the beer would really cut through the fattiness of the cheese and play together nicely. On that same note, this beer would go great with some very savory foods like caviar, lobster, scallops, foie gras, or curried dishes. An all around beautiful representation of the style and worth the difficulty in getting a bottle!