We’re up in St. Joseph, MI for an extended weekend and a friend who lives nearby recommended The Buck for dinner. She told me they had good food and an incredible beer list. It was a good chance for me to try a few local beers I wouldn’t be able to get back at home. My friend Joe went to Traverse City and stopped at this brewery and had good things to say, so I thought I’d give one of their beers a try.
Location: On tap and served in a snifter glass at The Buck in St. Joseph, MI.
Numbers: 6.8% ABV, ~200 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s a dark rusty, brick red color, and hazy with a very thin khaki colored head on it. After a couple minutes, the head fell to just a thing ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. The aroma is a funky-sweet malty smell with some musty horse blanket smells in the background.
Taste & Feel: The body is light, and the mouthfeel is crisp, with a sour tingle on the tongue. There’s a red-malt-like sour sweetness up front. In the middle, some dark fruit flavors come through, along with a flavor that reminded me of a stale cardboard boxiness. In the finish, the boxy flavor moves to the background and the dark fruit flavor becomes a bit tart and funky, with a fair amount of spicy bittereness. The aftertaste is mostly the spicy bitterness and funkiness, which lasts for a minute or two.
Food Pairing: This beer has a lot of different flavors, with some mostly dark fruitiness. I would pair this beer with something solid, like a steak or a thick burger (like the one I had for dinner), to help cut through these flavors.
Overall Impression: I have a tough time reviewing sours, because I’m not sure exactly what each is supposed to taste like. I only know what I like or don’t like, and I tend to prefer a bit more tartness in sours. This one didn’t have a lot of tart, and it seemed to have some horse blanket and boxy funkiness. I liked the malty and dark fruit flavors, but I didn’t like the sour flavors, especially the cardboard box like flavors in the middle. It’s not a beer I’d go for again, but I’m certainly willing to give Right Brain another try the next time I’m in Michigan.