Liquid Diet: Mystic’s Flor Sauvage

Bryan Greenhagen releases a funky, nuanced wild ale to help celebrate Mystic's recent expansion.


Photo by Toan Trinh

Earlier this month, Mystic Brewery founder Bryan Greenhagen announced that he’d be expanding their Chelsea facility in order to quadruple its barrel-aging capacity (some dedicated to Cambridge Brewing Company projects), install a new bottling line, and add a copper coolship, the white whale of Belgian-style brewing. All of these were smaller steps taken toward achieving Mystic’s ultimate goal of becoming one of the country’s largest producers of sour beers and Belgian wild ales.

To help celebrate their new customized brewhouse, Mystic will release one its most ambitious projects to date: a barrel-aged wild ale fermented with 11 strains of Brettanomyces. Like reds from the Jura or Burgundy, wines that benefit from decanting, Flor Sauvage is a libation that morphs and unwinds over the course of an evening. Pop the cork and you’re greeted with top notes of lemon, coconut, and vanilla, pleasant, but none-too-demanding byproducts of six months in oak. But allow the bottle to breathe and you encounter layer upon nuanced layer. After five minutes those woody overtones blow off and reveal traces of pineapple and briny plum, almost like Japanese umeboshi. Later there is earthy tangerine and a sherry-like nuttiness, something no doubt facilitated by four months of additional bottle-aging.

Flor Sauvage is a beer (even at 7% ABV) that can be enjoyed as a tart, midday quaffer or an after-dinner nightcap, though it ultimately rewards the patient and inquisitive. Unfortunately, to procure a bottle, you’ll have to take the opposite (and way less collegial) approach. Mystic only produced three barrels worth of beer, the equivalent of 60 cases, and is limiting its release to its Chelsea facility. Starting this Saturday at 11 a.m., Greenhagen and his team will start slowly doling them out two at a time, a strict bottle limit, which they hope will prolong its taproom tenure.

And if you miss out this time, make sure to mark down the first weekend of May 2016 on your calendar—that’s when the next batch of Flor Sauvage should be done with its long, oak-induced odyssey.

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