Odell Brewing's new release, Saboteur, is named for the yeasts that work within the rich brown ale. Saboteur was brewed with brettanomyces, a type of souring yeast than can indeed sabotage beers. But not this one.
Breweries are increasingly experimenting with brettanomyces. Ska Brewing in Durango joined the trend with their release earlier this year of Ska Sour.
Saboteur is a full-flavored brown ale aged in barrels with brettanomyces. This beer is not cheap: it comes with a suggested retail price of $12.99 per 750 ml (1 pint, 9.4 fluid ounces). Saboteur is bottled in a beautiful brown battle topped with a cork and cage.
Saboteur pours a shade of brown so dark it might as well be black. It gives off a rich, vanilla-inflected aroma, with a small head of chocolate-brown carbonation.
This one is special. A mild sourness comes rolling in, followed by a full, malty brown ale flavor. The finish is long and heavy on vanilla, reminiscent of pulling off a fine cigar.
Some sour beers are too sour for my taste. Saboteur strikes a great balance. The taste is immensely complex, with a slight sourness, vanilla, oak and maybe even a bit of cherry. A little alcohol warming from the 10 percent ABV slides down the throat.
If I were to nitpick, the slight sweetness gets a little tiring toward the end of the bottle.
I haven't paid much attention to Odell, a well-respected Fort Collins brewery, apparently to my detriment. Saboteur is an excellent beer. This is one you should seek out. (I found it at Star Liquors). Saboteur will be one of the best new Colorado beers of 2010. A
(Image courtesy of Odell Brewing).