Local Yokel

local1.jpgYou can call me biased, because I’m a New Yorker, but I am both enamored and fascinated with this beer. Brooklyn Brewery has really hit a home run with this beer. Their latest, the Local 1 is actually a bottle conditioned beer. This means that they put the beer in the bottle pretty much flat, with a bit of special yeast. The yeast then creates carbonation in the bottle. I find this whole process completely fascinating, especially because Brooklyn is the only brewery in the US doing this right now. It’s almost a lost art even in Europe. What this bottle fermenting does is give the beer an added complexity that any beer enthusiast will enjoy.
Appearance: Let’s talk about something beyond just the beer’s appearance. This is what takes this beer over the top. This bottle is a beautiful representation of what this beer is. It’s brewed in a very old European tradition and bottled in a gorgeous old-looking brown bottle that’s debossed with the Brooklyn B’s, topped off with a mushroom-y cork. That’s classic. Then, look at the label. This label is modern-retro. The design has a 40’s kind of feel, yet looks all modern. I adore the way they’ve designed this packaging.
OK, now we can talk about the liquid part of the beer. This beer pours just like a champagne (largely because of that bottle conditioning) – fizzy, with a great big foamy white head. The body is a cloudy gold-amber. The head eventually settles down, but never quite dissipates.
Aroma: I can smell this baby from across the room once I pour it. The beer exudes perfume, herbs, citrus and honey. Most of all I smell a pine aroma and a very slight scent of malt – grain and bread.
Taste: At first sip, this beer is very bitter, like a belgian IPA. The sweet hoppiness hits you up front, then the rich, bready malts come through. The pine flavor coming from the hops sticks with you and is the overall taste in this beer.
Mouthfeel: This beer both pours and tastes like champagne. The carbon fizzes all over your tongue and finishes really dry. There’s an incredible balance of hops, malts and alcohol here. The body is great as well, somewhere between watery and oily. Not too heavy at all. This is a great summer drink.
Overall this was an amazing beer. My only complaint is that for some reason, this beer kicked my butt. It was so easy to drink, and really, 9% alcohol isn’t a lot, but for some reason that alcohol really hit me hard. All that fizz must have gone to my head! Anyway, for more about this beer and it’s style, check out a few resources:
The stye, while an ale, is technically a Saison. Beer Advocate has a great description Saison ales.
Keith Olsen did a great and informative write up about this beer for the Malted Barley Appreciation Society.

The Facts:
ABV: 9%
Original Gravity (Plato): 18.5

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2 Comments

  1. Jason said,

    September 3, 2007 at 1:07 am

    There are actually many American brewies using bottle fementation. Hundreds of them. It is a very common craft beer practice. It is extremely common in England and Belgium as well. It is not a lost art at all. The Brooklyn commercial description of the beer, of course, is designed to make it seem much more rare than it actually is.

    And Local 1 is not a Saison. A Saison is a farmhouse/workers beer made for the summer. Saison is also a wheat beer of a fairly low ABV (5-7%). Local 1 is a Belgian-style strong golden ale, much like Duvel. It uses no wheat and is far too strong to fit the Saison style.

    A few Saisons to try: Saison Dupont, Fantome, Ommegang Hennepin, Lost Abbey Red Barn, Russian River Damnation.

    Compare these to other strong golden ales such as Duvel, Piraat, and Gulden Draak.

    You should notice that Fantome stands out from the other Saisons as very dry. It uses some wild Brettanomyces yeast. This is very traditional since at one time (before cultured yeasts) all beers uses wild yeasts which imparted a very dry, even sour flavor. You may also notice that Saison Dupont does have some of the yeasty phenollic bananna flavors of the strong golden ales, but is otherwise very different (much more spicy and clove-like with much less alcohol).

  2. John said,

    October 2, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    This beer kicks my ass, it’s got to be more than 9%.


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