Brouwerij Alvinne is yet another rising star in the Belgian brewing universe which just hit its first decade of brewing life. Started in 2004 when friends Davy Spiessens and Glenn Castelien decided to turn their home brewing hobby into a professional brewery, Alvinne has quickly gained a reputation for quality beer. This success has allowed them move to a new facility in 2007 which they quickly filled to capacity. In 2010, they brewed 450 hectoliters (383.5 US beer bbls). They also brought in a new partner, Marc De Keukeleire. One year later, in 2011, the partners purchased a space in Moen where they currently reside and hopefully have enough space to last them through several expansions!
The key to Alvinne’s flavor and style is their Morpheus yeast strain. It’s a mix of Saccromyces cerevisiae and Lactobacillus bacteria. In Belgian brewing terms, Alvinne uses “mixed” fermentaion. This yeast strain was selected and cultivated from wild strains obtained in the French countryside. This mixed strain is used for all of Alvinne’s sour beers. They use a version of this strain without the Lactobacillus for their standard beers.
Wild West is a sour blond ale that has been brewed with their house grown hops, fermented with their full mixed Morpheus strain, and aged in oak Bordeaux barrels for 8 months.
Appearance: Rusty orange with peach tones. No head.
Aroma: Oak, light vanilla, sherry vinegar, apricots, light mustiness, grapefruit peel, spicy/earthy notes.
Taste: Oak, lemon, blood orange, peaches, lime.
Overall Impression: This is very interesting beer to say the least. If you’re familiar with flat sour beers, the lack of head may be a bit of a shock. It’s very similar in nature to a straight oude Lambiek, except without the Brettanomyces character. The liquid is incredibly viscous as your pour it. It does have some incredibly light carbonation that manages to fight its way to the top of the thick liquid. This is a nicely sour beer with a bit of oak tannin in the finish. It’s funky and complex. Definitely not for the casual sour fan, but very rewarding if you’re up for a taste adventure.
Availability: Limited, look for it where better Belgian beers are carried. Imported by B. United International.