Thursday, July 11, 2013

Brouwerij Bavik Petrus Aged Pale review

Brouwerij Bavik Petrus Aged PaleHere's an imported oak aged sour ale that is worth paying attention to. Some of the best beer bars have it on tap here in Colorado. It comes all the way from Belgium and has only been around in the USA for a year or two. Bavik Brewery (aka Brouwerij Bavik) makes a series of beers for import here to the states and one in particular grabbed me by the head last year and woke me up to the fact that there are some fantastic imports out there. This beer review is Brouwerij Bavik Petrus Aged Pale - an ale aged in oak casks.

I found out about this beer by chance at the 2012 Beer Bloggers Conference in Indianapolis. A big importer was demonstrating how well craft beer can taste from the right kind of glassware. One of the beers they offered was the Petrus Aged Pale. I had no idea this brew was a wild ale when I went to try it back then and boy was I pleasantly surprised. Since then, I've come across this beer a few times back here in Colorado and now I've finally found some at my local liquor store. It comes in a 11.2oz brown bottle and in this case I found two single bottles hiding on a bottom shelf in an import section. I bought both of them.

Petrus Aged Pale is described as "a golden blonde ale brewed using the purest spring water, selected malt varieties and the finest hops. The unique aroma and taste is created by maturing in oak barrels for over 20 months." The beer weighs in at 7.3% ABV. If you have trouble finding some of this look up and read about the WIN-IT-TOO importers from Middleton, Massachussets. I already know what I'm in store for with this beer so let's get started.

Appearance: Bavik Petrus Aged Pale poured out a medium yellow gold color, slightly hazed, and with a bright white 2-finger tall head. The head didn't stick around very long and the beer only left the slightest of lacing. A white ring was all that was left after a minute or so. I could see through the beer well enough, but it didn't have crystal clarity. There was no sediment in the small 11.2oz bottle. This beer was very well carbonated, perhaps a bit too carbonated.

Aroma: Here is where you notice up front that this was an oak aged wild ale. It had a big woody characteristic with the classic scent of wild fermentation. There was an acidic sweet and sour going on in the nose. It was a sharp scent, and it reminded me of some of the beers from Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project here in Colorado. I swear the aroma on this beer was strong enough to penetrate even the stuffiest of sinuses. For a sour lover like me, this beer was most inviting right from the start. The oak characteristic was also unique.

Bavik Petrus Aged Pale close-upTaste: Bang! This beer has a tartness and an acidic bite like no other sour. It hit me up front right from the start. The beer was tart like a Sweet Tart candy and vinegar, but with a bitter sourness and malt flavor I seldom see in a sour beer here. The best way to describe the feel is "sharp" and the tart will attack several spots in your mouth and if you aren't ready for it then it could surprise you.

Granted, this isn't the most sour beer I've had, that honor goes to Lost Abbey's Veritas 007, but it is definitely up there in rank. It is crisp, dry and has a quality similar to an oak aged dry cider, but only no apple, yet it does look like a cider. The hops in this beer almost get totally hidden by the oak and wildness, but it was on the lower end of the IBU scale. It has a light to medium body, but is not watery in the least.

Overall: I must admit this is one of my favorite imported sour ales. I've tasted a bunch of imported Belgian beers before, but this one is the lightest and sourest of them all. I absolutely love this beer and would gladly stock up a case of this if I could. This is a beer I would like to take to a bottle exchange for sour beer fans. I think this beer will smack them upside the head and get a "Wow" out of them. It may be just a bit too sour, but I liked sipping this one slow and getting my oak aged wild fix off this. I can see why this was awarded "World's Best Specialty Pale Ale 2011" at the World Beer Awards. It's unique, it's crisp, it's tart and it's darn good in my book.

Disclosure: I paid full retail price for this beer at my local liquor store. It can be found in 12-packs or perhaps in single bottles in the import beer section.

Related articles:
- Beer Bloggers do more than drink beer at conference. (2012)
- Crooked Stave L'Brett d'Or 2012 review.
- Trinity Brewing TPS Report review.

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