Wiseacre Brewing out of Memphis, TN makes some solid “everyday” beers, but it’s their specialty releases that consistently impress me the most. One of their 2016 examples is the fun and fruity Symphonic, an American Wild Ale fermented in oak barrels.
Symphonic is hazy, straw yellow with a momentary fizzy head that rapidly retreats without leaving any bubbles behind. The aroma released from the pour is a bit subtle due to the lack of head retention, but what is detected is fruit-dominated with a bouquet of apple, apricot, peach, and lemon. Underneath are slight earthy aromas, and the nose also forecasts a bit of sourness.
Much like Champagne, the effervescence is noticeable even though the mouthfeel is light on this 6% ABV beer. The initial flavors are apple, peach, pear, and apricot. The sourness increases as the beer flows down the tongue beginning with the sweet apple turning more towards the slight sourness of a Granny Smith. This flavor morphs to lime then lemon as the beer reaches the back of the tongue. The lemon lingers in the aftertaste before slowly fading to the wild ale barnyard notes. The sourness of the beer is fun but not overpowering. It seems the oak fermentation was meant to add the sourness to this wild ale rather than to add any oaky flavors. And just so I don’t do a whole beer review without mentioning hops, I’ll say that this is a beer with no noticeable hop contribution.
Symphonic is a marvelously composed fruity and fun mélange. It is a bright, crisp beer that perfectly blends sweetness with a bit of funk and sour. Its Champagne-like qualities make it perfect for a celebration, but it also tastes mighty-fine on a Tuesday night at home.
Outdoor Friendliness (Wiseacre’s specialty beers are in 22 oz glass bottles)…N/A
Aroma (subtle but complex)…7/10
Flavor (fruity, funky, and fun)…8/10
Style-Appropriateness (nice blending of sweet and sour with a bit of earthy)…9/10
Alex writes a beer review every other Friday. Two weeks ago he reviewed the New Belgium Voodoo Ranger IPA