NOW THIS IS a prize. Though Side Project Brewing was already off to a magnificent start with the Brett Venture and Saison du Fermier, Fuzzy has raised the bar for these small-batch wild ales to new heights. Like most Side Project offerings, Fuzzy’s recipe is complex: a blonde ale with traditional and Brett yeasts, both lactobacillus and pediococcus, and then aged in chardonnay barrels with Missouri peaches. The results, though, are remarkably harmonious, uncluttered, and virtually seamless in their flow over the palate.
Brewmaster Cory King has spoken of trying to foster a ‘house character’ for Side Project, and some of Fuzzy’s foundation is indeed recognizable in his other beers. Yet Fuzzy’s precise blend is distinct, layering in sweet peach, tart yogurt, lemon acidity, a light brush of bready malt, and that silky mouthfeel unique to wild yeasts. These flavors burst amidst medium strong carbonation, then disperse and subside with a sparkle into a lingering, tangy finish. As refreshing in texture as it is in taste, Fuzzy can be savored or quaffed with equal satisfaction; the fact that it contains 8% ABV almost beggars belief. It was rightly thought by many to be the prize at FoBAB 2013 and did take gold in its category, but lost Best in Show to another Brett brew, Bell’s Le Bretteur. Time will see this error set aright in the public eye.
Served: On tap (Skyline Loft, FoBAB 2013, Chicago)