Let me introduce to you Jeff. He is our Barrel Program Director, aka Wild Man. As such, he is constantly trying to push the limits with our barrel-aged beers. When we got a shipment of barrels last fall, he said he wanted to make a Biere de Mars. We brewed this beer, which we named Vienne, back in October and fermented it in our plastic fermenters (so we could control the fermentation temps in the beginning) and then 6 days into fermentation, it was racked into barrels. This beer was aged with peaches and persimmons along with our house Lacto/Brett blend. Through the careful addition of fruit and blending, this beer is like Nicene’s tart, malty cousin with background notes of stone fruit. Vienne will be available for pre-sale online via Brown Paper Tickets on March 19, 2015 and will be released in the tasting room on March 26, 2015 with a keg of it on draft. Hope you enjoy it.
-Liz "The Brewer"
Thanks for the introduction Liz. I wanted to add a little historical context to the beer as knowing the inspiration enhances the drinking experience.
I've been somewhat obsessed with the Biere de Garde (and lesser known/used Biere de Mars) style since reading about it in Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski. The style just like Saison has morphed over the generations. Most of the current styles available from France are more closely related to German Bock beers in the sense that the malt character is the main focus with minimal, complimentary esters from the yeast. Most are even brewed as lagers with a few being brewed with ale strains at lower than normal temperatures. Well, these beers did not start out tasting this way, mostly because they didn't have good sanitation or pure yeast cultures. These would have been brewed in a similar way to Saison or even modern day lambics. They were brewed in the cool Fall months and then cellared until needed the following spring. According to the book, the name "Biere de Mars" was used to highlight a special release and help differentiate from their standard Biere de garde.
Having this history in mind we wanted to create a flavor profile that would be similar to the early versions of Biere de Garde. The malt character is similar to the currently available examples with strong caramel and toast notes. We wanted to incorporate some tartness and wild yeast (Brettanomyces) flavors that would have been dominant in the original versions. Finally, we added our own twist by incorporating fruit to reinforce some primary yeast flavors. With this style the art is really in balancing these components so you can taste all the nuances.
Lastly, a comment that relates to all of our bottles releases. We create a blend (this beer has 3 components) that we enjoy at the time of bottling and will evolve with time into something different, but equally enjoyable. The choice on when to drink the beer is based on what flavors you prefer. As this particular beer ages, we expect the caramel malt and fruit notes to fade and the acidity and wild yeast notes to increase. See you on the 26th.
-Jeff "Wild Man"