The Virginia Beer Co. | Liquid Escape Tart Ale
Judging a beer by its label is a bias we often encounter as craft beer drinkers. If you resist the urge to check a beer’s score inside the bottle shop, then you’re relying on the beer’s look and description to hook you in. You would assume that a humble beer coming from a brewery such as The Virginia Beer Company would be an old standby, reflected in the simplistic art and presentation. But the craftsmanship and modern innovation they put into their Liquid Escape goes far beyond what to expect.
There are not many breweries that declare a Gose like Liquid Escape as one of their flagships. The decision came in 2019 when brewmaster Jonathan Newman wanted to create a crushable beer suitable for any occasion. The kettle-soured ale was tinkered with and tested in the taproom for years until they believed it was ready for greater distribution.
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The American Gose revolves around secondary ingredients; lemongrass is an ideal product. From personal experience, lemongrass is a very difficult ingredient to harness. It must be prepared in a certain way to infuse properly; using too much will turn the beer into perfume.
Liquid Escape pours beautifully clear with a white, marshmallowy head. The bright carbonation and presentation might remind you of a sparkling lemonade, particularly the old-fashioned method that uses an oleo-saccharum for that darker, richer tinge. On first smell, salt wafts through the air like an ocean wave followed by an inviting wisp of lemongrass.
One of Guy Fieri’s lesser known exclamations is when something delicious “activates your flavor jets.” That’s exactly what is going on here with Liquid Escape. The flavor electrifies the sides of the tongue where most salty and sour taste buds are located. The tartness is subdued which keeps the palate from being overwhelmed. This sessionable Sour gilds the lily by being super refreshing and ending on a crisp bite.
Forget beers that need the lime wedge: This beer will transport you to an island paradise better than anything else on the market. If Flavortown had beaches, this would be in every cooler.
Featured image credit: Virginia Beer Co.