Well, it is only fitting that I would have a beer like this at the end of the year. Sort of like Oscar season when the big guns pull out all stops. Or the finale of a fireworks show. Though, I could have had this January 1st, my summation would still be the same...
Funk Metal Barrel Aged Sour ABV: 8.2%
Jester King Brewery Austin, TX 22 oz btl with rad label poured into snifter at World of Beer - Stone Oak
**NOTE - Instructions on bottle say to refrigerate for 24 hours before serving! This is to prevent bottle eruption, so beware!**
A - This pours an un-highlighted black with a quickly rising mocha head full of tiny, dancing bubbles. The head retreats quickly, like most sours, leaving just a faint trace of lacing. This is nearly opaque, even when held to the light, and the little light that is transmitted is just a touch off black.
N - Wafts and wafts hit right away. Seated in my stool as this is poured for me on the bar, I am still struck with that often under appreciated acidity of a Brettanomyoces batch. There are sour cherries, a sharp, dry wine, and a hint of raspberry all mingling at the start, bringing forth sour notes in abundance. An acrid, burnt note of end-of-the-day coffee pot follows not too long after, bring with it the rich, roasted malts of a true stout. The tulip is filtering all these potent aromas right up to my nose in a stream, and I can't wait to tuck into this one.
T - I need to make up words for this. There is no doubt this is the most interesting beer I've ever had. 'The Most Interesting Man in the World' should endorse this if he ever wants to drink a real beer. Salivary glands open wide the second this hits my tongue, with sharp vinegar and not-quite-ripe Granny Smith apple tartness. It is immediately followed by the earthy, oaked noted from the barrel aging, and bolstered by bold coffee and dark malts. They are so well intertwined, I feel like I'm drinking some beer cocktail. These things don't go together, do they? They can't...but they are. The sourness fades a bit, as it warms, and the sweeter highlights come forward, finishing dry, with another last parting shot of sour. This is remarkable. So pungent, so acidic, so rich and bold, and yet, so in harmony.
M - Even the mouthfeel is different. With all the flavors, its certainly full bodied, but the carbonation keeps it drinkable. Dry, yet sparkling. Such a contrast.
Location - This was my first time at World of Beer, and I am already sad that a week has only seven days. The 550+ bottle selection and 50 tap selection is mouth watering. The menu is a little confusing, broken down by style, whereas I prefer a 'by Country' separation, but that is just nit picking. It is informative, giving a blurb about different styles, you know, for those who walk in a novice and leave a budding professional. The staff was the definite highlight. Service was friendly and prompt, knowledgeable and engaging. Megan Stein, the product manager spent a fair amount of time talking beer with me and has now been proclaimed my "Beer Girlfriend." She was nice enough to give me a tour of the cooler, and we have exchanged social media contact info for future brain picking/bragging/sharing discussions. Beer lovers in San Antonio or visiting here need to get here. You won't be disappointed.
O - Well, to finish my allusion earlier in regards to summation, this is the most memorable beer of the year. Regardless of when I would've had it, there is no doubt of this. This is NOT a beginner's beer. Yet, for those of us who enjoy sours, this is actually quite approachable. The flavor profiles are like a firework show for my neural synapses, there is so much at work here, but there is such a balance.
There will be those who will hate it and there are those who love it, but you certainly won't forget it. Its raw; and unabashed, but still refined to a degree that is unlike any I've seen. To bring all this together in one batch, in one barrel, in one bottle? I tip my hat to Jeff and the guys at Jester King. This is certainly not a beer you follow though, it is a session ender. Unless, as i said to my dad you happened to have a good palate cleanser before making the transition. Hey, think I found a use for Bud Light! Or maybe that's what the Dos Equis guy is doing; hes already had the most interesting beer, just endorse water with a slight ABV. Never mind, finish with this, finish on a high note.