Aether’s latest entries in their Oak & Organisms series are delicately nuanced liquids with disgustingly creepy artwork.
As someone who’s been trying more and more natural wines recently, I’m finding beer-wine hybrids more and more interesting. Intertwined incorporates heavy skin contact pinot grigio pressings, which were blended with wort and soured before being left for seven months in French oak to round out the flavours.
While pinot grigio is generally a crisp style of wine, all bets were off by the time these grapes went through the intertwining process. Skip the wine terminology of "bouquet" and "nose"; Intertwined straight up has a stank of overripe fruit right from the very first whiff. Funky mango nectar and cloying pineapple come together, and bring a sweetness to the palate that would be almost sickly if it weren’t being melded with a biting acidity. Fizzy and sour and sharp, yet still picking at some of the lighter vinous notes.
A Belgian witbier made with Western Australian black truffles† and aged in French and American oak barrels for five months would be outlandish for most breweries, but the Aether crew have been playing with truffles in beer since their early days; they made a wheat beer with white truffles for their first Beer InCider festival in 2016, and made a black truffle wheat beer the following year, so at this point, Severance is par for the course.
Don’t expect the truffles to be the main attraction here, though. They add a subtle thread of earthiness to a well-crafted traditional Belgian witbier, where the zing of the orange zest and the gentle spice of coriander and star anise lift the softer notes of the Belgian yeast esters. But while there’s a certain citrusy brightness, it’s diffused by an almost buttery mouthfeel. I’m not sure if the truffles or the oak are to be credited for that impossibly indulgent smoothness, but I love it and I want more of it.
†According to the description on the can, the truffles in this beer were located by Molly, Gidgee and Max, and to be perfectly honest, from now on I would like every beer description to include the names of the dogs involved in production.
- Barrel-Aged Beer-Wine Hybrid & Truffled Witbier
- 6.8% & 6.5%