Transient Artisan Ales | Pentameter Batch #2
Breweries are opening in and around Chicago with frequency, but few of them are making sour and wild ales the main focus of their efforts. Since its inception, Chris Betts of Transient Artisan Ales has focused on releasing a wide range of wild ales.
Pentameter Batch #2 was brewed in November 2013 while Betts was gypsy brewing out of One Trick Pony. (He has since moved and opened his own brewery in Bridgman, Michigan, calling into question the “transient” name.)
An “Illinois lambic inspired ale” aged in wine barrels for 13 months, it was brewed with pilsner malt and wheat, blended with about 15 gallons of Pentameter batch #1, and fermented in an open top fermenter. Pentameter pours a copper/burnt orange color with about two fingers of head. The head eventually settles to a thin, persistent layer on the surface, resembling a thin layer of soapy foam and consistent with a traditional Belgian lambic.
Mild funk and cereal grain (think Kix cereal) give way to orange and other citrus notes, with a healthy amount of wine tannins backing it up. Some spices are there as well, with peppercorn and possibly cardamom present. The carbonation is adequate and leads to a seltzer-like effervescence with a light and soft feeling on the tongue.
What starts as a tart beverage eventually becomes something akin to a sour, but the acidity never gets to enamel-tearing territory. White wine tannins and a little brettanomyces funk combine with notes of lemon, orange, and grapefruit to make this a delightfully refreshing but still sour libation. The opportunity for fruit additions is very much present, as I have blended it with New Glarus’ Belgian Red to rave reviews from myself. Bring it to a barbeque and drink it with some grilled chicken and you’re on your way to winning the hot Chicago summer months.
A very enjoyable take on the lambic style, Pentameter is a beer that all fans of Belgian-inspired beers should try. It’s ready when it’s ready, and quite possibly will be on tap at Transient’s taproom in Bridgman when it is. But you’ll have to get there before I kill the keg.