Exhumed from oak and making its debut this month is another brand new wild beer: Jolie Rouge – a sour red ale refermented with cherries in Sherry casks.
“Jolie Rouge” refers to the red flag of piracy, a flag that signaled ‘No Quarter’ to the crew of a captured ship. The Jolly Roger (black flag) was itself terrifying for sailors to see, but they knew there was still opportunity to survive or join a pirate crew if captured. The Jolie Rouge left little room for ambiguity, however. The best option was to run, but a slow ship had but one choice in the face of the red flag: fight to the death.
Joile Rouge began as a red colored beer, fermented in oak barrels with our mixed culture of farmhouse ale yeast, brettanomyces, and wild yeast and souring bacteria native to Coastal Virginia. After fermentation to dryness, it was racked into former Sherry casks and refermented with a blend of several types of cherries. As we normally stress, refermenting a wild beer with fruit is not meant to result in a sweet fruit “cooler”. The sugars in the cherries will be nearly completely consumed by yeast and bacteria during this process, resulting in a very dry, bright beer. Just as wine tastes differently than grape juice, refermentation with cherries creates new, interesting character that neither the fruit nor beer has on its own. Joile Rouge is tart and refreshing, with cherry pie-like notes throughout.
Jolie Rouge is 8.6% ABV, 11 IBU, and has a Final Gravity of 1.000. It will be available on draft and to go in 750ml bottles at the brewery on Saturday, June 20th.