I was super excited when I heard that The Bruery and Cigar City, two of my favorite breweries, were teaming up to create a collaborative beer. Marrón Acidifié, an Imperial Oud Bruin, was conceived at GABF 2009 and brewed shortly thereafter. The effort was very meaningful to both companies, each of them a small, fledgling breweries at the time (still relatively small actually), but brought together from opposite sides of the country through their passion for brewing delicious beer.
For the past year or more, Marrón Acidifié has been undergoing a long and gentle aging process in oak barrels with California dates and black sapote fruit used for secondary fermentation. In case you're unfamiliar with the style, Oud Bruin originates from the Flemish region of Belgium. The name, literally meaning "old brown", is a reference to the long aging process. The extended aging process allows the yeast and bacteria to develop into sour flavors that are one of the defining characteristics of the style.
I was thrilled to find several bottles of the stuff on the new arrivals shelf during my last visit to Dawson's. As with all of The Bruery's releases, it comes packaged in 750 ml bottles with their exquisite labeling (I've actually been saving the bottles of each of their beers I've had... trophies of a sort).
Marrón Acidifié pours deep, murky brown. There was a tiny bit of carbonation as I poured, but it fizzled away quickly with no lasting head. Nice aroma of mixed fruits, sour cherries, cranberries. Noticeably sour, with a hint of vinegar, but balanced by the roasted malt, oak, and something else... a thick doughy sweetness that reminded me of cherry pie. Maybe that's why I like sours so much - they tend to remind me of my favorite kind of pie! It took a moment for me to pick it out, and thinking back I'm pretty sure it was when I sniffed straight from the bottle and not the glass, but I got a heavy dose of that thick, bittersweet smell of old leather. Not all sours blow up my taste buds or make me pucker at first, but this one did a little bit, and that's not a bad thing. Once I got through the first sip, my palate started to pick up all the subtle flavors. The cherry is definitely there in force, but is complimented by additional sourness that seemed to be grape and apple-like. I liked it that! Hints of plum and fig are in there too. The mouth feel was rather thick and viscous and I would have liked some prickly carbonation to cut through. Also, my second pour seemed to lose some of the balance and punch the first one had. That's okay though. At 8.5% ABV, it would have been unwise to finish it on my own. Other than that, a very tasty sour indeed! The label says you can cellar it for up to 5 years. Bottles are about 23 bucks, but despite the price I may pick up another to age.