Sunday, 25 December 2016

12 Beers of Christmas - Day Six - Monkish Olivia

Day Six - Monkish Olivia (USA, 6.8%)

A tart and acidic beer may make a great aperitif, but it's equally good for reviving a tired palate at the end of a big meal. I cracked open Olivia, a blonde wild ale fermented in barrels with 100% brettanomyces and ages in white wine foudres, within minutes of forcing down the final Christmas sprout, and it woke me up at the moment when the probability of a cat-nap on the sofa was at its highest.

It pours an attractive golden colour with a slight orange tinge, and fizzes energetically before any sign of a head completely evaporates. It's deceptively simple on a first taste - tart and slightly salty with the sort of acidity you might expect from a Berliner weisse, but without the funky, grainy quality I often note in that style. Complexity builds the more you drink, though; there's a touch of sticky sweetness to balance that acidity, and the ghost of the white wine foudre sprinkles in some subtle oak and crisp apples, contributing to a dry, tannic finish. The brett doesn't manifest itself as musty and leathery as I usually recognise it, but it may be responsible for the tropical fruit notes - honeydew melon, and perhaps a touch of kiwi.

A suitably sophisticated entry for my favourite day of the year. Merry Christmas to all those reading.

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