O’So Brewing – Winds of Change

O'So Winds of ChangeCHANGE, IS IT? Of what sort, O’So? Take your pick: 1. Deciding to focus more on their barrel program 2. Starting to brew sour ales 3. Hiring a new head brewer. Each alone would have been a stiff breeze—all three at once seems more like a tempest. Whatever its magnitude, the first gust of these changes arrives in this Brett-soured hoppy pale ale, golden-hued with light haze, around 6% ABV and 45 IBUs. It’s a 50/50 blend: half pale ale inoculated with Brett in secondary and barrel-aged for six months, half a primary Brett fermentation that spent the same time in stainless.

The aroma is initially quite appealing, blooming creamily with Brett Brux’s lactic acid, a bit of lemon, some oaky vanilla and just enough yeasty funk to cue the mouth towards salivation. More than just a Brett beer, though, Winds of Change is also substantially hopped with West Coast cultivars, giving it some extra citric and herbal snap in both aroma and flavor. It’s also dry-hopped with German Tettnanger (a pound per barrel) to enhance its earthy bouquet.O'So Winds of Change (2)

After that promising first pass, though, Winds of Change starts to tail. Six months of aging is substantial enough for many beers but rarely suffices with wild yeasts. Brettanomyces in particular needs time to work its slow magic, paring back that off-medium body while producing more effervescence and the complex flavors that only come with patience. On the other hand, higher carbonation might have further imbalanced the bitterly herbal hops and mildly astringent oak tannins of the finish. Overall this blend is a fair idea—signifying to O’So fans that the brewers had something new in mind but weren’t about to abandon their roots—but a less heavy hand with the hops and more patience before bottling would have provided a much stronger tailwind.

Served: 750 ml bottle

Rating: 74

 

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