It’s quite the weekend for sports lovers. In addition to a Yankees–Red Sox showdown at Fenway, the Rangers take on the Caps at MSG, Mayweather-Pacquiao promises to be the next “Fight of the Century,” and, of course, it’s the 141st rendition of the Kentucky Derby. Whether or not you have a horse in any of these proverbial races, there’s a relatively new release from Brooklyn Brewery that has your name all over it: Wild Horse Porter.
The latest small-batch offering from Brooklyn’s ongoing Brewmaster’s Reserve series is a darker beer with a surprisingly light body, built around the funky yeast at its heart. That yeast strain, brettanomyces, is a nonconventional fermenter known for producing off-flavors generally characterized as “barnyardy” — as in, tasting like wet horse. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? If you’re running scared at the thought, hold your horses. When employed properly, so-called brett beers come equipped with a lingering complexity that any beer aficionado will appreciate. They also pair sensationally well with meaty meals.
Although the yeast has become increasingly popular with craft brewers, Wild Horse Porter is unusual in its use of brett in a darker ale. The style might have been popular in mid-nineteenth-century England, but today you don’t see it all that often. Brooklyn’s take brings a hint of tobacco smoke and rye bread to the top of the tongue before the inevitable funk rears its head — racing a touch of roast to a photo finish.
The 6.5 percent wildling is available for a short time, exclusively on draft. This weekend you’ll find it at the brewery in Williamsburg as well as at Barcade. If you’re at least curious to see what a brett porter brings to the table, there’s no better time than Derby Day to break this horse out of the stable.