D9 Brewing Company | Systema Naturæ 1st Edition
ABV: 6.3% | IBU: 0
North of Charlotte, along the lovely Lake Norman, lies Cornelius, North Carolina, home to D9 Brewing Company. I am tempted to describe D9 as “up-and-coming” but after tasting their Systema Naturæ 1st Edition — a wild sour ale brewed with sweet Devilwood blossoms and musky, tart apricot — they might have already arrived.
In the way of background information, D9 opened their doors in September of 2014. They began in a 5,000 square-foot space, and, having already expanded into a 10,000 square-foot space, they’re clearly looking to grow. Paraphrasing their own words, they specialize in reimagining the world’s most unique and trusted styles of beer. Those include, but are not necessarily limited to, international IPAs, ancient sours, Cascadian dark ales (i.e. black IPAs), imperials, and oak-aged brews.
The 1st Edition of their newly minted Systema Naturæ series is, as already stated, of the sour variety. The motivation behind Systema Naturæ seems to be to explore the scientific processes and ingredients behind the beers we drink. As a result, D9 has crafted what could be described as an homage to the history of sour beers with a unique twist.
Along with the aforementioned Devilwood blossoms and apricot, they brew the 1st Edition with lactobacillus and wild yeasts. (For those not yet familiar with sours, when you see lactobacillus, think puckering tart.) What makes this an homage to sour beers in my mind is the use of wild yeasts. An entire style of Old World beer – lambics – are brewed with naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria. Honestly, I don’t know if D9 uses the same methods with their own locally occurring yeasts, but it’s certainly not unfair to consider the possibility.
Moving on to the beer itself, when first opened it exudes scents of malt, yeast, and pungent earthiness. It pours a gorgeous, transparent apricot yellow with a head that dissipates quickly or slowly depending on how soft or hard you pour it. When sipped – and I do insist on sipping – the fragrant, floral sweetness of the Devilwood blossoms combines with the ripe fruitiness of the apricot to deliver an extraordinarily flavorful drinking experience.
My plain, candid opinion of D9’s Systema Naturæ 1st Edition is that it’s delicious and unforgettable. It balances sweet and sour, earthy and effervescent to create a truly remarkable beer. To make it even better, it might be the most reasonably priced sour beer that I’ve found – let’s hope saying so doesn’t jinx it. I will add a word of caution, you might want avoid the sediment that you’ll probably find at the bottom of your glass.
Bottom line, if you’re into sours, you should go out of your way to get this one.