Thursday, July 20, 2017

Libertine Wild IPA

I had never heard of San Luis Obispo's Libertine Brewing Co. until about a month ago when I saw a few of its 750 ml bottles at a Whole Foods north of Los Angeles.  One was a Wild IPA that had been fermented and aged in French oak.  When I read "rare wild ale" brewed in French oak, I put the bottle in my shopping cart, I liked the sound of a wild IPA. 

I found Libertine's Wild IPA fruity and sour.  The "wild" was definitely a Brettanomyces-influenced yeast strain, which brought a sharp dryness to the beer.  The beer was cloudy and tight, due to the intense carbonation that made it almost creamy.  Libertine's Wild IPA was bitter enough, which is demanded from any beer calling itself an IPA, but its bitternesss was exceeded by the funky sourness of the yeast.   I did not catch too much French oak.  I don't remember the abv, and the pictures I took of the bottles didn't capture an abv, but if I had to guess, I'd say it was around 7%.  Like many so many beers called "wild" ales, the main taste point was the yeast, which enhanced the dryness, and accentuated the fruity and sour tastes.

Libertine Brewing, according to its website, specializes in barrel age beers and has three locations.  It dates from 2012.  Why haven't I heard of this brewery?  The Wild IPA was good. OK, it was more than good, it was excellent.  And heck, Central California's Central Coast is not like the Australian Outback or something.  I'd think I would have heard of a brewery specializing in barrel aged IPAs, but I have not seen any of its beers in San Diego.   Well, now that I know Libertine I plan to get more of its beers.

Libertine's bottle labels are wild in their own right.  The front labels are straight out of the 18th century, but the back labels are a debauch. 

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