Anchorage Brewing Company is a hot-shot new brewery from the icy north. Despite their remote location and literal underground status underneath the Snow Goose Restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska, and their catalog of only three beers, they have gained quite a reputation for very high quality and well crafted brews. Their fourth, a Belgian Trippel, is going to have Sorachi Ace hops from Japan. I’ll be keeping my eye out for that one.

I’ve been having quite the taste for Brettanomyces, the curious little contaminant yeast that gives certain beers an unmistakable little ‘tang.” The Brett in this beer comes from being aged in pinot noir barrels after the initial brewing and fermentation. Their Love Buzz Saison was recommended to me on the selling points of its barrel-aging, Brett notes, and a respectable 8 percent alcohol by volume. However, the $13 price tag was a bit of a downer, but for a beer so universally lauded by those in the know, I shrugged it off. After getting to know this beer, I would be glad to make the leap again.

Like most fine bombers, this one is finished in cork and bail. While it does give a certain fancy air to it, the preparation and anticipation of removing the cork safely has always been more of an annoyance than anything. Once off and poured into a tulip glass, I was taken by the interesting body. It was somewhat murky orange, yet radiantly bright. The pale, sparse malt didn’t add to the color as much as the citra hops did. A nice white fluffy head on this warm orange body almost reminded me of a creamsicle.

The smell told plenty of what was to come: the nice woody flavors of the oak and the fresh citrus that followed. The idea of citrus taking a back seat for once was refreshing. The taste gave the whole picture the scent was leading to; a nice bit of the Brett giving its signature ‘funk’, the fruity dryness of the pinot noir, a nice sized hit semi-earthy hops, and just a little bit of pale hops to even the whole thing out. Grapefruit-tinged Brett was the main lingering flavor. The whole thing was very deliberate and masterfully crafted.

I wouldn’t call this an ‘entry-level’ beer, even if I could truly call anything with heavy Brettanomyces ‘entry-level’. I think it requires a certain understanding between the beer and yourself, going into it knowing full well that this is a funny flavor. However, if you can wrap your head around an well-aged cheese or enjoy a leathery cologne, you will probably enjoy beers with Brett. You don’t have to absolutely love that arena of taste to enjoy Love Buzz Saison. Even those who outright dislike strong yeasty flavors can still hope to somewhat enjoy it. It is still a very drinkable bottle, especially if splitting with a friend.

 

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