Brett Blueberry Cottonmouth

February 13, 2017

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An accident happened at the brewery a few months ago. Last year we brewed our beloved Blueberry Cottomouth and were gearing up for one of our favorite releases. But something happened.

Blueberry Cottonmouth is one of the most sought after beers that we do, with mountains of locally harvested organic blueberries giving our Belgian-style Witibier a beautiful purple hue and tart and tasty overlay of blueberry flavor. It is also one of the few beers that gives our lab a run for their money every time we brew it.

Brewing with fresh fruit can bring on a slew of challenges, including the taste of the fruit (we’ve all shopped for blueberries and know how different they can taste based on how ripe they are, or how much rainfall we’ve had, etc.), how they are processed and, most importantly, what the fresh fruit may bring with it in the way of wild yeasts.

Wild yeasts such as Brettanomyces are naturally occurring on fruits like blueberries, so using them in our Blueberry Cottonmouth is always a bit of a nailbiter as the beer makes its way to the lab.

As for this particular batch of our Blueberry Cottonmouth, Brett (wild yeast) was “accidently” introduced when we added the blueberries. Oops. It’s very well known that wild yeast is all over the skins, and we know we are going to have to deal with it on some level or another with this beer if we want to use locally harvested fresh fruit. However, we thought our pasteurization method would neutralize the brett. Shortly after introducing the blueberries to the beer, the lab confirmed a massive amount of the wild yeast Brettanomyces. This time around, even after pasteurization, the numbers were reduced but not enough to allow us to package the beer. If we package a beer with brett in it, the flavors of brett will come through over time and significantly change the scope of the flavor profile of Blueberry Cottonmouth.

So, what do you when you have a happy little accident in the brewery that has potential for greatness in the way of a sour beer? You let it ride and hope for the best. So, we let it age for a full Summer at ambient temperature in the brewery, and let the brett do its work to turn this batch of Blueberry Cottonmouth into an entirely new creature.

In this case, the brett continued to do its best work, eating the remaining sugars left after primary fermentation. This process takes a while, and the awesome folks on our brew crew were babysitting her the entire time, checking back often to see what the brettanomyces was doing. The end result? It was doing attaboy worthy work, creating a new beer, Brett Blueberry Cottonmouth.

Brett Blueberry Cottonmouth is very similar to a light table wine. It still has blueberry character on the nose and the palate but has developed horse blanket and barnyard brett character, resulting from the brettanomyces.

We will be releasing a limited amount of bottles and draft of Brett Blueberry Cottonmouth in our tasting room, The Wetlands, on Tuesday, February 21st. Come in for a glass or take home a bottle.

Note: The bottles will be very limited and you must keep in mind that this is a wild beer, created with brettanomyces. This beer will change over time. Maybe for the better, maybe for the worse. Take the risk if you want and throw one in the cellar, but consider yourself warned!

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