Almost a month after our trip to Asheville, I still find myself dreaming of the tasty beers we sampled. Fortunately beer makes for great souvenirs, and I was able to bring several pieces of the trip home with me. One beer I brought back was Wicked Weed’s Bombadile, one that was on draft at The Funkatorium. My mother had a glass and enjoyed it, so I decided to buy a bottle and try it at home.
Bombadile is a a Brettanomyces farmhouse ale brewed with strawberries and aged in a French oak foeder. The strawberries are not coy, despite living within an aggressive beer style. The first scent to hit your nose is fresh strawberry juice, the beer has a faint pink color, and a refreshing strawberry taste lingers in every sip. But Bombadile is not your average fruit beer. Despite the strength of the strawberry, it is first and foremost funky and sour. It isn’t as puckery as other sours, but it definitely has that zip.
Fresh strawberries, though, are also quite tart; which ultimately leads to a happy marriage between the two flavors. As a fan of fresh strawberries, I’m disappointed when a strawberry beer tries to play up the sweetness too much – or worse, tries to mimic the artificial strawberry flavor we’ve come to associate with candy and ice cream. Bombadile not only highlights the strawberry, but also its tartness – which is ultimately why the combination of flavors works so well.
I recommend Bombadile for fans of less aggressive sour ales, or as an introduction to sour ales for drinkers intimidated by the more fermented and/or more puckery varieties. I also think fruit beer skeptics would enjoy this one, as the fruit serves to balance the beer, not overpower it. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Style: Brettanomyces farmhouse ale
Special Additions: Strawberry, Foeder-aged