Friday, May 30, 2014

Grasslands' Big Cypress Brett IPA

This is a recurring monthly series in which I taste and share my thoughts on a different beer from Grasslands Brewing Co. as they progress on their journey to open their doors to thirsty craft beer lovers THIS SUMMER!  Grasslands is an up-and-coming brewery out of Tallahassee, Fl. that centers their philosophy on making quality "earth first ales." I will taste pilot batches and share my thoughts with the BeerApostle community. You can read past posts about Grasslands beer in the archive section of this blog.

Brewery: Grasslands Brewing Co.
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Style: Brett IPA
ABV: 7.5%
Beer Apostle's Grade: B+

It's hard to believe this is my twelfth review of a Grasslands brew, and the third time I am reviewing a Big Cypress iteration! It's been an absolute blast covering Gabe Grass' journey as he gets set to officially open the doors of Grasslands Brewing Co. Over the last year, I have been fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of Gabe's experimental and innovative batches. I am not sure why he's entrusted a schmuck like me with such a high honor, but am thankful nonetheless!

This Big Cypress Brett IPA is something I have really been looking forward to. Having tried batches #1 and #4 of the base recipe, I am curious to see how the Brett yeast affects this beer. To see my reviews of Big Cypress IPA without the Brett, click here and here.

You might be wondering, "What is Brett?" Brett is short for Brettanomyces, which  is a form of yeast that traditionally imparts a level of “funkiness” or ”sour” tones to its beers. While this is often the case, there are various strands of Brett yeasts that give floral and tropical impressions. The latter is the form of Brett yeast that's used in this Big Cypress IPA.

Let's get to it, shall we?

Appearance: This Brett IPA pours an unfiltered, hazy copper hue. There is minimal head that quickly dissipates.

Aroma: Earthy hops come to the front of the nose. I pick up a citrus undertone--lemon and orange zest.

Taste: This is an in-your-face tropical IPA! I get a lot of citrus and tropical fruits, mainly grapefruit, mango, and lemons. There is a mild spiciness that comes towards the back of the palate; this is
possibly given off by the Brett. The finish includes a subtle sweetness capped off with the aforementioned spice.

Mouthfeel: Big Cypress Brett IPA is a medium bodied beer. Without a ton of malt sweetness, this beer feels lighter than it is.

Overall: With this being the first 100% Brett IPA that I have tried, I really didn't know what to expect. I also had no point of reference for comparison. And I must admit that prior to the first sip, I fully expected to get some funky notes from the Brett. I definitely fell into the "Brett trap." While there are no elements of "funk" in this beer, it is a bold-flavored IPA. There's really nothing subtle about  Big Cypress Brett IPA. The tropical fruit flavors, citrus bitterness, and spicy finish makes this an IPA that leaves an impression.

I appreciate the willingness to innovate here. As I take a look back at the past 12 beers I've reviewed from Grasslands, I can confidently say they've proven that when they open in just a few months, their beer will be anything but status-quo.Grasslands will push the envelope on various styles and will be cutting-edge in the product they deliver to beer fans. It's going to be fun to watch (and taste).

Interested in becoming a Grasshopper?

If you're interested in getting your hands on any of Grasslands' brews before 2014, register for their Grasshoppers Club which is your ticket in to getting exclusive releases from the brewery before they open. As a Grasshopper, you'll be eligible to enter the monthly lottery drawings to sample beer and provide critical feedback that may contribute to the final product. You can also check out Grasslands on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

Thanks for reading the Beer Apostle and for supporting craft beer! Join in on the discussion by following me on Twitter and Facebook! Cheers!

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