Thursday, 21 May 2015

Motley Cru (2015)

The 2015 edition of Motley Cru from Toronto, Ontario's Bellwoods Brewery is labeled as a "sour red ale aged in barrels w/Ont. pinot noir grapes 1-3 year blend". Most interesting in that phrase (to me at least) is that I wasn't aware that anyone way growing pinot noir grapes in this province. This iteration of Motley Cru came to me by way of a regular squash opponent/cool guy. The 500mL bottle has a gnarly red and black label adorned with a cowled skeleton. The cloudy, auburn-brown liquid within contains 8.7% alcohol and pours with exactly no head.

The Cru has a tart aroma that blends cranberry and cherry notes. Red wine tannins compliment a flavour that is sour and fruity. Cranberry tastes are prominent, cut with a touch of sweetness. Hops are barely perceptible, but do pop up like a prairie dog as part of a dry, winey finish. Absent from the flavour is any real indication of this beer's potency. There's a lot going on with taste and aroma, but it doesn't feel like the liver punching booze bag that it is. An element that didn't reveal itself to me until my pint was half gone and the beer was warming slightly were the woody notes--sweet, oak-y, but not overwhelming.

The beer brains at Bellwoods did a grand job of barrel aging and then bottle conditioning this sour ale. It's got the flair of a Flanders red, but with some complicated wine leanings and Toronto pedigree. A fine brew, this Cru, though a touch of effervescence would have been nice.

8.5 out of 10

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