An article by Noah Forrest
Sometimes when you meet someone new, you instantly click. That was certainly the case when the guys from Brasserie Dunham met the folks behind California’s The Libertine Brewing Company during a St. Petersburg beer festival a few years back.
However, as much as you connect, get along, and seem to share values, sometimes a topic comes up that instantly divides you. When that topic is political in nature, and when it’s regarding today’s current American political climate, a budding friendship can be halted in a instant.
According to Eloi (Dunham’s co-owner and brewmaster) this is exactly what happened when they made (what they thought) were a few funny political jabs at the American government. Tyler Clark (founder of Libertine) did not share their views, and a long awkward silence ensued while driving in his car.
In a lot of cases, that might have ended the budding friendship in its tracks. However, instead, they just brewed beer together. And, to this day, they are great friends.
The beer that these two powerhouses concocted is called “Build That Wall,” which for them symbolized when they hit a wall in their political debate, and of course allegorically representing something else.
Libertine Brewing produces beers all across the central coast of California. They are dedicated to capturing the essence of their terroir, with each and every beer spending time in a coolship. This allows the wild yeasts of the region to begin fermenting the wort, imparting flavours only found in that location. All their beers are aged in french oak barrels and carry that tart and sour Libertine signature flavour.
Build That wall is no different, except that beyond the process involved in making it, it symbolizes the notion that friendship and trying to understand each others viewpoints trumps polarizing political discourse (pun intended).
You want to know the best part? You can actually buy these Libertine beers at the upcoming Brasserie Dunham bottle release party alongside Dunham’s usual crazy line up. It’s this Saturday, Details right here. (Libertine bottles are only available at the restaurant, however you can order them to go).
Build That Wall
As I mentioned, Build that Wall is a collaboration between Brasserie Dunham and The Libertine Brewing Company. It’s a wild ale, made with foraged mushrooms and herbs from the Eastern Townships.
It pours out a bright golden orange colour with yellow highlights. The head immediately dissipates, leaving the bright liquid to shine on its own. The nose tosses up big acidic notes, tickling my nostrils with some intense zesty delights. Lemon, orange and general citrus meet under-ripe mango, alongside hints of earthy and floral notes.
Up front on the palate it is sharp, carrying an acidic edge that surprisingly tappers off quite quickly, leaving a fruity and earthy linger; it lets you ponder over the sour blast you just received. Like the nose I’m getting tons of underripe tropical fruits, alongside a big citrus punch. There is also a grapefruit rind pithiness that lends complexity to the earthy and slight herbal components.
A floral essence comes through as well, as if eating a citrus salad with flower petals. The acidity is certainly at the front, but the roundness of the whole thing works well, with a sourness that doesn’t overpower even though it’s quite potent.
1234 Broad Street
1234 Broad Street is Libertine’s take on a Biere de Garde (French farm house Ale). It pours out a dark copper orange colour with a frothy head that sticks around. The nose is a rich mix of bretty phenols, cooked apples, stone fruits and lots of spicy oak.
It carries a wonderfully tart (bordering on sour) fruitiness, however the acidity is more subtle than the other Libertine bottles. It has a round, robust body, and the malt has more of a presence here than in the other beers on offer. The palate begins with tart apples, citrus, lots of yeasty funk, and a beautifully tannic and dry finish that carries a tangy linger that rests with you.
As it warms, grapefruit rinds start coming through, adding a pithy tannic and bitter combination that is just incredible. It’s not quite to the degree that you get in a gueuze, but still prevalent and intensely delicious. Overall, 1234 Broad Street is complex and impressively multilayered. Wow.
Central Coast Saison
Finally we have this Central Coast Saison. It pours out a bright and murky deep orange colour, carrying a frothy white head. The aroma begins with big earthy yeast phenols, giving off that dusty basement and old books thing. This comes alongside a plethora of bright fruits, like apples, pears and a touch of mango.
On the palate it’s far more acidic than the nose let on, punching my senses with tangy underripe fruit complexity, alongside the brett induced earthy funk. Like the nose, there is sour apples, pears, cantaloupe and lemon citrus.
The finish is long, with a lingering sourness that rests on your palate, holding a fruity tang that remind me of rich mangos. There is a slight bitterness as well, which actually works alongside the tartness, unlike many sour IPAs that generally turn me off. Another gem right here.
There is no question that the current political situation in the US is a hot topic all around the world. Everyone has an opinion, and it seems that this time around, we are all extremely sensitive about said opinion (even if it’s not our country!). I have my own views on the subject, and like many, I have a hard time understanding the other side. However, even through all the passion and disbelief, I try hard – and not always hard enough – to not let it completely dictate how I view the individual who holds a different view from my own. I’m glad these two breweries were able to put these differences aside for the greater friendship. And shit, we got one hell of an amazing beer out of it.
An article by Noah Forrest
Photography by Noah Forrest