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The Great Beer Quest

If you’ve had a French, barrel-aged red wine, you’re familiar with the earthy (some say shitty) taste of Brettanomyces. Now the strain of wild yeast is slipping into craft beer.

Brettanomyces, or Brett for short, has a distinct “barnyard” flavor that reflects the soil it’s from. So Brett in beer could be a cool way of tasting the brew’s connection with the earth. It’s even central to some lambics and saisons. Santa Rosa, Calif., brewery Russian River makes a 100-percent Brett beer, “Sanctification.” (Forgive us, St. Brett, for the PBR we have imbibed!)

UC Davis viticulture professor Linda Bisson is one fan of the funk, according to Modern Farmer:

It can give you a nice spiciness, sometimes a clove character. To me there’s a little bit of leather — new leather, not sweaty leather.

Mmm, right — if I’m eating leather, I like to know it’s fresh. (I had some for lunch and I gotta ask, whose boots were those?! Great top notes of athlete’s foot.)

Others say Brett tastes like ass. “Phonebooth” and “horse blanket” are other not-so-kind descriptors. Seems like par for the course to us: If you’re connecting with the dirt whence your food came, it’s gonna be a little … pungent. Clearly the haters should stick to drinking Mudslides.