Getting reacquainted with an old flame. It’s been long enough since we’ve been together that it was like being on the first date again. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and the excitement of our reunion trumped any faint memories I had of our first night together. Her classy and simple look drew me in as it did years before, as fond and affectionate memories heightened in me. $10.99?! Well, shit. You’re worth it and everything’s more expensive in the Keys.
I visited the brewery years ago, and fell in love with the personality and energy behind the Brooklyn Brewery name. The casual picnic tables and ivy covered brick made me feel right at home. I was of course already a fan of Brewmaster and author, Garrett Oliver after my kick with beer and food pairings. I loved his books, lectures and articles, but his involvement in the industry and passion for the movement was unmatched. After getting my hands on a few of the brews while visiting New York, I was in even deeper. Thus, my introduction to the Big Bottles, including Local 1 & 2, and my Farmhouse Saison virginity stolen by Sorachi Ace.
Local 1- Awesome clean design in the 750 with the caged cork. Props to the marketing department. It has a simple clean label design with an eye catching gold reflective outline. The cork releases with a champagne pop, which is always an exciting way to begin any beverage experience. Brooklyn Brewery boasts their classic and uncommon use of 100% bottle conditioning in Local 1 & 2 and others they call Big Bottles and operate the largest bottle refermentation program in the US. Their explanation of the process is ‘…the beer is bottled flat and gets all of its carbonation from the re-fermentation in the bottle…100% bottle-conditioning is now rare, but results in far greater complexity and aging ability.’
Beyond the process, I’m a bit intrigued by this art in a bottle. This brew is a world traveler before it’s even bottled with German malts and hops, a Belgian yeast strain, and sugar cane from Mauritius. I’m excited to learn more about this sugar cane pressing process from this fascinating island.
With our official glassware collection in a basement in Michigan, I had to decide between a pint glass and a mason jar. It poured smooth with a beautiful golden straw color and creamy white foam. Although I wasn’t surprised by the active carbonation level, I was surprised by the clarity. Due to the process I expected it to be much cloudier, but was pleased with the contents in the glass, though I couldn’t even see through the bottom of the bottle when I held it up to the light.
I now regret the pint, because I think I could have gotten more of the aromatics with the jar. I had to cup my hand to the rim of the glass until I drank enough to stick my nose in there without snorting foam, but immediately caught the strong Belgian yeast aromas followed up by some sharp citrus and fruity notes. A faint banana smell lingered, but the herbal quality was as expected- coriander/clove.
Lots going on in a sip of this beauty. The sharp carbonation alerts the senses in the first sip, and a sourness and citrus spike triggers the Saison category of the memory. The yeasty middle and high octane warmth bring you back to the Belgian Strong. The sharp carbonation bubbles again on the back of the tongue before it heads down the hatch. I seem to always finish my first sip with ‘Hmmm’ while the cleansing of the palate washes down the day’s coffee remnants. Second introduces the clean buds to the beverage, but the third is always my trusted sip. This is when I can have an honest assessment/enjoyment. Here I was met with pear, green grapes or green apple hints after the sourness softened. I didn’t get much of a peppery finish like I expected but feel it was a bit masked by the high carbonation. The medium body and soft yeasty roundness compliments the sharp qualities and finishes with pleasure.
Of course the Local 1 gained a bit of depth as it warmed up, making it even more enjoyable, but the carbonation and white clingy head stuck it out to the very end. The Strong warms you up half way through a pint, and does the style justice.
It was great to reconnect with an old friend, and I’ve made plans to meet again soon. My fondness for her classic beauty has increased over the years, but left me with an experience as if we’d never met.
Home run for Local 1! Local 2 up to bat!