Is that the Jabberwock on the label of this bottle of Stateside Saison from the Stillwater Artisanal Brewery of Stratford, Conn.? The Jubjub bird? The frumious Bandersnatch? Should I take vorpal sword in hand?
Whatever. It’s one ugly, nightmarish beast.
But inside the bottle is another matter.
This is a tasty saison with a bold finish of…what? I can’t quite grasp it. Is it citrus? Fruit? Melon and grapefruit? Meyer lemon? Lilikoi? I just can’t pin it down, other than it’s a bright blast of complex flavor, with an underlying punch of alcohol, and a grassy, grainy, fizzy finish.
I look forward to the trippy explosion of bright flavor with each sip, which might be the very definition of a good beer. This beer keeps the mouth occupied and interested in taking another sip shortly after the bold statement begins to fade away on the palate.
“O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
Well, who could pass up this flashy bottle? I couldn’t. Loved the concept immediately. There is something beautiful about the design. Monochromatic with a bright blast of red. The deconstructed design of the horse reminds me of Albrecht Durer’s self-portrait with the plague. It’s a masterful label that makes my eye happy.
So, let’s see what’s inside this attractive bomber bottle of Unbridled, a 100 percent Brettanomyces fermented India pale ale from Surly Brewing Co.
I pour it into an English half-pint and it shines with that inner amber glow of a beautiful IPA, with a fluffy and inviting white head topping it off. I dive into a beautifully balanced IPA that tastes as if it might have a Belgian golden ale in its lineage. That, I suspect, must be the result of the wild yeast. A spiciness at the start and a tart pinch at the end.
It has a lovely warming effect. There is something poetic about this beer. I feel the urge to write a transcendental haiku in honor of this beer. And then I notice on the side of the label, someone just missed making a haiku of it:
Wild yeast. Exotic hop notes.
Run wild. Run free.
Be on fire. Buck convention.
I was going to take a run at it myself, but I can’t get past the lyrics to Michael Martin Murphey’s “Wildfire.”
She’ll be riding Wildfire…