Dirty Water No. 1

Lasting Brass Dirty Water Sour Series Number 1
Gifted by the brewer, 5.5% ABV

dirtywaterSometimes when I get bored, I go to Twitter and ask the world which brewery I should review a beer from next. It’s a fun exercise that forces me to just bang out a review from wherever. I’ve done it a few times and little Lasting Brass is always among the first responses.

Rather amazing when you think about it.

Why? Because Lasting Brass is but one guy homebrewing in his in-law suite. A small (clean and unused) bathroom is used for keg storage. The guy’s son plays with his massive array of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys 15 feet from the fermenting tanks in the adjacent family room. Medium, yeast-filled Erlenmeyer flasks slowly ferment away in an alcove near the 100 gallon fishtank.

Welcome to one of the best breweries in Connecticut. And it’s not even a “real” brewery. Oh, and those flasks I spied back at Christmas 2013 were Brettanomyces yeasties and not used in this sour. Though, of course, some Brett could have been imparted by the fruit used in this beer, but… oh who am I kidding? I have no idea what I’m talking about.

(But I do know that Lactobacillus was used on purpose in this Dirty Water #1.)

Ed Silva, the brains and skill behind the Lasting Brass name, has the luxury of brewing whatever he desires. He can take his time and hone each recipe. The only thing he can’t do is sell or distribute his beers. He can only drink them himself and give some to his very, very lucky circle of friends.

Of which I’m fortunate enough to be included.

Having conquered the world of ales and stouts, Ed decided to take on sours. To him, this stuff is fairly basic chemistry and biology. So he cultured my own lacto for the first two Dirty Waters, using some grain and hot water. They were both fermented with lacto and clean ale yeast and then aged on the mangoes.

I haven’t the patience for such things. I create silly little essays as quickly as I can. In fact, I like to challenge myself to write stuff faster than I have before. Taking 8 months to make a beer? Just not my thing.

Well, I mean, it IS my thing for other people to do it. You know what I mean.

Lasting Brass Says:

Our first installment in the Dirty Water Sour Series is a golden sour aged on fresh mangoes and then dry hopped on Citra hops.

dirty-water14Let’s talk about the name. I love it. I love it as much as any other beer name in the history of beer. Ed has named his beers after sites in his hometown of Waterbury. For his sour series (that’s right, there will be a series of these beauts), he’s cleverly co-opted the urban slang term for his town which is, of course, “The Dirty Water.”

Your move Gun-Wavin’ New Haven and Hard-Hittin’ New Britain, your move.

Connecticut has recently been graced by the new OEC Brewery in Oxford. OEC specializes in, among other things, sours. Really well done sours. Willimantic Brewing Company does some sours every now and again. Two Roads did a rare sour bottle release early in 2014. And I guess you could include NEBCO’s Weiss Trash Berliner in the mix. And I think that’s about it for Connecticut sour beers.

Sours take a long time and they take precision. Ironically, a home brewer like Ed has an advantage here, for he has all the time in the world to age his beers, as he’s not beholden to any delivery or customer time tables. With such tiny batches, he can also control his quality more closely than many larger breweries seem to do.

So what we have as a result is a perfect, delicious, and complex beer. A sour that surpasses or equals other Connecticut efforts and can stand up to the best from Belgium and beyond. I’m not exaggerating. Lasting Brass really is that good.

The Sour #1, aged on mangoes, imparted the unique mango flavor but the sour notes from the yeast made the fruit somewhat irrelevant. Though, it would be interesting to compare #1 to the upcoming #2 aged on… I’ll leave that a mystery for now.

Light carbonation, moderate ABV, perfect amount of tartness, cut by the late addition of the Citra hops. Seriously, sours just don’t really get much better from this.

Note: I enjoyed this beer on Cape Cod in a vacation house, hence the weird glassware and terrible decor in the background. I had hoped Aaren and Precious from Beer’d could make it out for a night, during which I’d have shared my 12 ounce bottle. They couldn’t make it though… their loss.

Overall Rating: A+
Rating vs. Similar style: A+

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