Monday, July 30, 2012


I know the day I found out that SIERRA NEVADA and RUSSIAN RIVER BREWING had collaborated to put together a wild ale was the day I'd decided I would buy and drink that beer. The beer, called "BRUX" after the Brettanomyces Bruxellensis bacteria that, believe it or not, is the key selling point for it, came out just this past month. The label talks quite a bit about how the beer "changes over time", which to be honest chaps my hide a little. It leaves a little too much guesswork to the consumer about just when to drink this wild ale with the $15-$20 price tag, and leaves us no clues about whether it's ready to quaff now. There's a little too much deliberate mystery put forth by the wild brettanomyces bacteria festishists, and while I love the way it makes Belgian-style wild ales taste, it's getting a bit tired.

So I decided to see what it tasted like now. BRUX pours a copper or light orange color, and whooosh - yeah, that beer's got some hair on it for sure. Very Brett-y, with that familiar soapy character. It's deeper and more rich that some of these, which attests to the skills of its deservedly beloved creators. Sierra Nevada in particular are doing amazing things across the board these days, especially among their non-bottled stuff, and Russian River's only one of the two or three greatest brewers of the past decade. 

BRUX is very carbonated and dry, and has tastes of sour pear and soap shavings. It's refermented in the bottle, and definitely that encourages "change over time". I've got to say, though, all that emphasis on how this beer ages and matures - it makes me wonder if it's designed to blunt criticism of how it tastes in July 2012. I found it to fall short on just about every measure when compared to both breweries' recent track record, and of course compared to the lofty heights I expected. Just too much going on and not a lot of character shining through other than "busy-ness". Hundreds of RateBeer fanboys disagree with me, but then again, I'd have expected halfway-decent reviews if this Russian River-affiliated beer had been brewed with quinoa and stool. I give it a 6.5/10.


beerbecue said...

Weasel stool? Because I think that may have been done already...although not affiliated with Russian River.

Your frank reviews are much appreciated.

John Verive said...

I'd have liked to buy 2 bottles for now and later, but I baulked at the $16 price-tag and just got one. I'm going to hide it in the closet and hope I forget about it during the hype-phase.