I took a random day trip to Santa Barbera to visit the Telegraph Brewing Co. While there I picked up a bottle of their limited edition sour ale OBSCURA ARBOREA. After a few months of setting on it (unplanned, mind you) I decided to crack it open and give it a try.
Obscura Arborea is a Flanders Oud Bruin with a 9% ABV.
Telegraph Obscura Arborea is an ale brewed in the style of Belgium’s Oude Bruin, the famous Flanders Sour Brown Ales. Our wild brown ale has a malty character suggesting dark caramel and dried fruit, and is balanced by a refreshing lactic tartness from the wild yeast used during aging. Cherry-like aromas and a hint of oak round out this sensory experience and make for an extremely satisfying and unique beer. Proost!
I was expecting the worst when I opened this bottle, but was thankfully not deluged with over-flowing foam. Instead I was able to promptly fill my glass with the dark apple red ale. Auburn highlights can be spotted when the light hits it just right. The head was huge and foamy, but managed to stay within the glass. It reminded me of a manilla colored whip cream. Plenty of bubbles and lacing were also present.
The nose on this beer kept with the visual identity and hit me with a burst of cinnamon apple cider. Faint twangs of apricot and vinegar poked my nostrils. As it opens up a lactic funk appears, but doesn’t hinder it too much.
Once again the taste returns to the apple orchard. Sweet apple and cinnamon are the first, and most noticeable, flavors. Hints of cherry were also in there. The vinegar and lactic sourness weren’t that big in the taste. After taste is burnt and dry.
Just as you would expect from looking at this beer the mouthfeel was bubbly and bright. A crispness flows through each sip, leaving a slight drying behind (like any over carbonated soda).
I was expecting more sourness, but Obscura Arborea is rather well-balanced. Not too sour, but none-the-less flavorful. It’s almost like the beer equivalent of a non-alcoholic apple cider. This beer would be a good ending to an afternoon of apple picking.
Overall: 7.5 out of 10
As a FLANDERS OUD BRUIN: 8 out of 10
FOR FANS OF: Brouwerij Bockor BELLEGEMS BRUIN, Brouwerij Bavik PETRUS PALE ALE, Brouwerij Liefmans GOUDENBAND