Microbrasserie À la Fût: The Wild Pioneers of Quebec
An article by Noah Forrest
Mixed fermented beer with fruits and other adjuncts are pretty common now in the modern craft beer spectrum. Some are brewed with either wild yeasts or acidifying bacteria, or perhaps both. There is something magical about the combination of Brettanomyces and acidity, especially when coupled with wine (or spirit) barrel aging.
Microbrasserie À la Fût are one of Quebec’s pioneers with regard to these eclectic offerings, and perhaps even the country. Their Flanders Red is one of the first I’ve ever had, and one of my preferred new world examples to date.
Throughout the years, À la Fût has put out a steady flow of interesting and delicious offerings. Their barrel program is impressive, and I’m always excited to dive into whatever sour or wild offerings they are releasing.
They provided me with sample to review. Here is an examination of some of their more recent releases. Enjoy!
As of late, Â la Fût has been collaborating on a lot of different beers with other breweries around Canada. Usually when brewers collaborate, it’s them working on a recipe together and then creating the beer at one location. Â la Fût however, has been shaking things up and are doing blends! They take one of their beers and blend it with one from the collaborator’s brewery.
Déraille was brewed in conjunction with Griendel from Quebec City. They took their Tripel entitled Bastiscani and blended it with Griendel’s St-So, a wild fermented raspberry beer, then aged in on oak.
The nose is a great mix of flora, carrying lots of dusty funk and vinous barrel layers. Some raspberry comes through, but it’s extremely subtle and only adds a light fruity accent to match all the esters.
The palate is interesting. There is a Lambic-like flora profile, delivering earthy funk, bitter grapefruit and lot of dusty phenols. This is quickly matched by some raspberry essence – but it’s subtle, rather than being a juice bomb. Light acetic notes compliment, lending further complexities to the overall profile. The beer is tart, almost sour, and carries a tannin rich finish that echoes berries and wild funk. Tasty stuff.
Cuvée Western (Version Spontanée)
Cuvée Western is Â la Fût’s take on a “western” Gueuze (lambic). It’s a blend of several barrel-aged wild ales. And in this particular iteration is that much closer to the real thing given the spontaneous fermentation.
The nose begins with some great flora-induced aromatics, producing lots of dusty books, damp basement and light barn. These phenols are complimented by fresh pear flesh and apple juice. It’s earthy as well and I’m getting hints of bubble gum.
Just like the nose, the palate is a dance between some earthy barnyard funk and lots of white fruit flesh. The Brett profile really delivers here, providing all kinds of dusty layers that contrast well with the malt sugars and subtle but apparent acidity. There are hints of ascetic acid and some bubblegum esters, but they are subtle and not too off-putting – however these components were the reasons I didn’t love it the last time I had it.
I like that A la Fût is working towards their own homage to a gueuze, and it’s clear to me that they are improving on each version. I’m anxious to try the next one.
Rouge Monkey is another collaborative blend, this time with Indie Ale House in Toronto. It’s a combination of Â la Fût’s Rouge de Mékinac (a Flanders red with cherries) and Indie Ale House’s Spadina Monkey Cherry. The blend was then barrel-aged.
The nose blasts the senses with acetic notes coupled with loads of cherry. Almond paste and cherry pie dominate alongside rich oak. The palate is an acidic cherry bomb, pumping loads of bright yet rich fruity goodness into my senses. Lots of pie filling and balsamic notes work alongside marzipan and oak. It’s sour (very sour), tangy and has a vinegar bite that works well with the whole thing. Nice.
Coyloup is somewhere between a coyote and a wolf, and the beer is somewhere between a barrel-aged wild ale and an IPA. The hybrid spent seven months on oak before receiving a big Galaxy dry hop.
The nose bursts with some ripe tropical juiciness, delivering pineapple, papaya and all kinds of zesty delights. The Brett profile is pretty horsey, carrying some animal farmhouse funk. It smells inviting.
The palate is similar. Lots of bright tropical notes dance with a layered Brett-forward barrel character, alongside vinous notes that come off tangy and slightly tart. It’s pretty bright and exceptionally fruity all around, showcasing that quintessential Galaxy juiciness and finishing with tight, bitter tannins. I really enjoyed this one.
I tried QV10 last year. It was a bright juicy show of a beer that showcased both raspberries and cherries. This year’s edition still carries these fruits but they’ve added blueberries and strawberries to the mix! They blended 1 and 2 year old Cuvée Western and then let it mature another year with all the fruits.
The nose is bright, delivering lots of jammy berries and rich cherry aromatics. Some funk and acidic layers come through as well, alongside a vinous touch.
The beer is quite tart and sour, holding a nice tannin-rich finish that keeps it rather dry. There are layers upon layers of jammy fruits. The raspberry and cherry take the show, but you can certainly pick out the subtle blueberry nuances. I often find strawberry provides an odd solvent-y thing in beers, but it works here and just gives you the good stuff. This one was a lot of fun.
Well there it is, another slew of impressive barrel-aged deliciousness from wild beer veterans Â la Fût. Their offerings are getting tighter each year and I’m always excited to dive into what’s happening next. This is but a small sample of the bottles released this year, so if you can, jump on them.
An article by Noah Forrest
Photography by Noah Forrest