The Great American Beer Festival was held was held from October 10th-12th in Denver Co., around 600 craft brewers from all over the country congregated to share their work, taste great beers and submit their favorites for judging and awards. Judges awarded gold, silver and bronze medals to beers in 84 different styles based on taste, appearance, and fit into the style of choice. For a complete list of winners see: http://www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com/the-competition/winners/
Two Massachusetts beers were honored, one was Mystic Vinland Two, which won the gold medal in the Indigenous beer category. Mystic brewing in Chelsea MA focuses of brewing Belgian style ales, and their Vinland series uses yeast strains isolated from local sources. Mystic Vinland Two is a saison, or Belgian style farmhouse ale, that was brewed with a wild yeast strain cultured from Maine lowbush blueberries. The strain of yeast is one of the most important ingredients in the saison, unlike ales that derive most of their flavors from malts and hops, the fruity and funky esters produced by the yeast give a saison the majority of its character. I am a big fan of the saison style, and love almost anything from Maine, so I was very interested in this beer before the award, and after seeing it honored at one of the most prestigious festivals in the country I needed to seek it out.
Mystic Vinland Two pours a cloudy gold with a sustained white head. The smell is classic Belgian yeast, fruity esters with a little barnyard odor (this is not an off-flavor in a Belgian beer). The beer goes down very smooth, crisp, clean and easy to drink. The Belgian yeast comes through strongly, some mild fruit flavors like plum and blueberry, funky notes with a mild spicy flavor. There is some pale malts in the backbone and some solid earthy and grassy hop flavors, but the yeast really shines here. If you enjoy the style I highly recommend you give this a try, it is great to drink on it’s own and pairs well with most food. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.