Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Evil Twin - Femme Fatale Brett IPA Review

evil twin femme fatale brett


Brewery: Evil Twin (DEN)
Style: 100% Brett / Belgian IPA
ABV: 6%
Grade: B


100% Brett IPAs are one of the few truly new "styles" to emerge from the craft beer revolution. Since no one even really knew what Brettanomyces was until a little before Prohibition, you can be pretty sure about this (although Mitch Steele's "IPA" book makes a compelling case that historic English IPAs were probably aged Brett-beers, of a sort). So it's interesting that Brett IPAs still so thoroughly obscure — there's only maybe one or two styles I can think of that are harder to find a bottle of than a Brett IPA.

Homebrewers, meanwhile, have not been quiet about their love of Brett for fermenting hoppy beers. I've only had my own, Brett Trois fermented example, but it was perhaps my favorite batch so far. I can tell with a whiff that Evil Twin's Femme Fatale Brett wasn't fermented with Trois, as it lacks that big tropical fruitiness and lands much closer to the realm of your average Belgian IPA. I'm also fairly certain this was brewed with a significant portion of wheat, as it's got that straw-colored cloudy color, and a creaminess to the mouthfeel that's not really possible in All Brett beers without some recipe tweaks. The wheat plays out in the nose, too, with a grassy-aroma that merges well with the floral aroma of the hops and the mild spicy funk of the yeast. 

Other than some tart funk in the mouthfeel, there's not much indication that this is anything other than a Belgian IPA. In fact, while this is a intriguingly complex and drinkable beer, that would be my chief complaint: you could tell someone this was a Belgian IPA and they would never second guess you. Hops provide a dry bitter bite, and round out the fruity flavors with big citrus and grapefruit zest. Some pineapple and mango come in, but more as undertones, while there's a surprising amount of that "peppery spice" character you get from Belgian yeast. The grassy-ness works well with the floral character of the hops and the yeasty spice, but it creates almost too much balance; I wish this leaned more on a juicy, fruity hop/yeast dynamic. It's full and slick without being sweet — and the finish is nicely clean — but anyone expecting a super tart beer from the Brett is going to be surprised. The Brett, here, edges around funk and decides to play it straight — mostly, anyway.

I won't knock a beer for being too balanced: I can't imagine anyone hating Femme Fatale Brett. It's complex and extremely drinkable, with a nice mouthfeel and layering of flavors. Despite the interesting genre-bending behind its creation, this isn't a beer I would rave about — but it's perfectly enjoyable and tasty.

Availability: 22 ounce bomber. Seems to pop up occasionally in stores with a good selection of Evil Twin stuff.




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