Apres Vous (Barrel Fermented) | ABV 8.9%
BJCP Style: Wood-Aged Saison
CraftBeer.com Style: Barrel-Aged Beer
CraftBeer.com Sensory Style: Fruity & Spicy
Malts: Unknown (Typically Pilsner, Munich, Malted Wheat)
Brewery: NoFo Brew Co
(A quick note on Sensory Style: A recent, very thought provoking article from CraftBeer.com (It’s Time to Rethink How We Talk About Craft Beer Basics) by Mirella Amato introduced the idea that separating beers into Ale or Lager categories really doesn’t help newer craft beer consumers determine what beers they may or may not like to try. Sensory Style is actually more informative. I tend to agree with this, so I have introduced CraftBeer.com’s Sensory Style categories, in addition to beer style, to help someone reading my reviews get quicker understanding of the overall experience they should expect from the beer. Sensory Style is divided into six broad categories: Sour/Tart/Funky, Crisp/Clean, Dark/Roasty, Malty/Sweet, Hoppy/Bitter and Fruity/Spicy. If you would like to explore these more on your on, you’ll find them here: CraftBeer.com Beer Styles. Go ahead and explore, you’ll find they work quite well.)
Appearance: Slightly hazy, brilliant gold. Fluffy white head, good retention. Fast carbonation
Aroma: Mild spicy, earthy, and grassy hops. Lemon note. Distinct oak wood note.
Flavor & Aftertaste: Light floral, citrus and grassy notes. Bold oak wood flavor. Alcohol is noticeable. Low bitterness.
Palate: Medium body, high carbonation. Smooth, medium length finish with restrained bitterness.
NoFo Brew Co is a micro brewery located in Forsyth County about 35 miles north of the I-285 Perimeter of the Atlanta metro area. This is such a gem of a brewery and founders Bryan Miles, Shannon Miles and Joe Garcia are passionate about craft beer and their local community. The brewery opened in September 2019 and within a couple of weeks, had sold out of all its beer. Talk about pent up demand! At the helm of brewing operations is Head Brewer Jonny Bradley. Like many brewers, Bradley started out home brewing. He then spent some time at one of the other local breweries, Cherry Street Brewing, as well as, a brief stop at Etowah Meadery in Dahlonega (Brewery Spotlight: NoFo Brew Co, Suwanee Magazine, January 6, 2020). He and his crew are producing some high quality beers and they have not restricted themselves to just the typical Double IPAs, New England IPAs, and adjunct Stouts than many brewers put out there early on. Apres Vous Farmhouse Ale/Saison was one the first beers they placed on tap and one of the first ones to sell out. Being true to the brewery’s tagline “Tap Your Adventurous Side“, NoFo Brew Co bottled its first barrel fermented offering, Apres Vous Oak Barrel Fermented Saison, and released it in December 2019. I must say it turned out exceptionally well.
In Apres Vous Oak Barrel Fermented Saison, NoFo Brew Co achieved a wonderfully drinkable beer that balances Saison characteristics with oak aromas and flavors that don’t detract from the enjoyment of the base beer. There are a number of barrel aged beers on the market today. Many of these are Stouts and Porters aged in wooden barrels that were previously used to make whisky or wines. These beers are big and bold, but sometimes you want something a little more subtle, yet still has some wooden barrel characteristics. Allagash’s Curieux is one of my favorites. It is a Belgian Tripel aged in bourbon barrels. I like it primarily because the bourbon flavors are not so strong they overpower the unique characteristics of the beer itself. Allagash accomplishes this by fermenting their Belgian Tripel in stainless steel tanks, transferring it to bourbon barrels for aging, then blending fresh Tripel beer back in with the barrel aged beer.
NoFo Brew Co achieved a similar balance with Apres Vous Oak Barrel Fermented; but in little different way. They took their base Apres Vous Saison and fermented it in new white oak barrels instead of stainless steel tanks. The process allowed them to extract the oak aromas and flavors without overwhelming the more delicate notes of their Saision. The end result is a light drinking Saison exhibiting a tapestry of mild floral, grassy and spicy aromas from the hops with subtle notes of lemon and oak interwoven throughout. At 8.9% ABV, this Saison is not overtly boozy like an Imperial Stout or many Belgian Quads. Instead it is so light and drinkable, you have to be careful or it would be very easy to over do it.
I liked this beer so much, I immediately went back to the bottle shop for another bottle and will probably go back again for a couple more to cellar in order to see how they age over a few months. It is only sold in a handful local retail shops in the area, but it is well worth seeking out if you live in the area or if know someone who can pick some up for you.
Thanks for reading, until next time…Let Us Drink Beer!