Jadyn and I went to dinner at Cambridge Brewing Company last night (April 22nd). It was mostly spurred by the release of their second 20th anniversary beer, Reckoning, which was fermented with only Brettanomyces. Their current beer list is huge, probably 20 beers or so available on tap, either is for the Craft Brewers Conference, or for their 20th anniversary.
From the website:
Incidentally, this is also our first trip to the CBC since they updated their menu. I was sad to see the Cubano removed from the dinner menu, but at least it's still on the lunch menu. A notable addition to their appetizer menu is the "Local Picks Plate", which consists of "Artisanal Cheese, Cured Meat, Vegetable Pickles, Fruits, Local Honey, Fried Nuts." There's a picture of ours below. The cheese was very tasty as were the pickled vegetables, which included spring onions, cauliflower, and fiddlehead ferns. For dinner Jadyn had the Veggie Muffaletta sandwich, a new addition to the menu, and I had their barbecue burger, which was very tasty.
Reckoning, or dead reckoning, is the process of estimating one's current position based upon a previously determined position, and advancing that position based upon known or estimated speeds over elapsed time, and course. It’s also the name of the Grateful Dead’s live album from the Warfield Theater run in 1981, a series of shows from which Phil ‘Brewdaddy’ Bannatyne was ejected personally by Bill Graham himself.
Reckoning also applies to CBC’s current position, as we celebrate our 20th anniversary – looking back on our path to this point, and plotting our course ahead into the future.
Reckoning, the beer, is a first for us, representing the first time we’ve brewed a beer with 100% Brettanomyces (Brett). Primary fermentation was in stainless, and it was then sent to the Barrel Cellar into five pinot noir barrels to finish fermentation and conditioning. Four months later this beer has emerged, full of fruit and funk.
Unfiltered, it presents a very cloudy mien and offers aromas of tropical fruit with a hint of fresh hay. On the palate, the grassy notes become much more earthy with hints of horse blanket and barnyard (in a good way. Trust me.) commingling with the fruity, high end of yeast character.
This funky brew references our history of pushing the boundaries of beer, from Belgians to Barrel Cellars,and from our traditional friend Saccharomyces to our unicellular brothers in weirdness like Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and Brett.We hope you enjoy it, and look forward as we do to twenty more years of great beer and good times.
Brewery: Cambridge Brewing Company
Style: American Wild Ale
Appearance: 3.5 | Smell: 4.5 | Taste: 4.5 | Mouthfeel: 4.5 | Drinkability: 4.0
Pours a cloudy, pale, golden color, and is topped by a thin, white head that quickly fades to a ring. The strongest aroma evident is the characteristic 'hop sack' aroma contributed by Brettanomyces. Swirling brings out phenolic, funky and earthy aromas, somewhat reminiscent of lambic, but much more restrained. Underneath this wild character lies a mild fruitiness with hints of citrus, and banana.
There's a mild, bready sweetness upfront that builds into a fruity center with notes of grape, banana and citrus. This is mirrored by the flavors contributed by the Brett, which appear early on and build towards the center where they contribute a slight tartness. The Brett character mellows towards the center lending earthy and woody characters. The beer is medium-bodied and smooth with a prickly finish that moves into a nice dryness.
Perhaps I'm biased, but I love beers brewed with Brettanomyces. I thought that this beer had a nice mix of the wild characters that I like and an underlying fruitiness that helps to add depth.