Memphis Beer Week kicked off Sunday with the debut of “Rufus,” a collaborative beer blend by Yazoo Brewing Company and New Belgium Brewing.
Rufus is a sour red ale fermented with two different strains of Brettanomyces yeasts and puree of blackberry and currants. It’s a mix of “Oscar,” the dark sour base beer New Belgium uses for its LaFolie blends, and a white wheat and pale malt base beer brewed by Yazoo in Nashville.
There were samplings of Rufus Sunday at the Young Avenue Deli and both Flying Saucer locations, with even more opportunities to try it this week.
I got a taste of it at the Deli and was pleasantly surprised. I’m not a huge sour beer fan, but I found Rufus to be fairly sour with nice fruit notes on the nose. It was served a bit too cold.
I defer to my friend and FuzzyBrew contributor Nate, who’s much more savvy with sour beers. I asked him for some tasting notes as we sipped on a couple of pints of this Bloody Mary red beer.
“I don’t feel like the enamel is coming off my teeth or the back of my throat is closing up,” he said. He described it as “moderately sour,” but not very malty.
He continued that it smelled like a New Belgium sour, though “not as intense.” He could taste the Brett yeast, “a little barnyard funk on top. … The fruit is there, but I really don’t know that I’d pick it out.”
As it warmed up, Rufus was more funky, more sour and more fruity. My jaw started to tense up, but I stuck with it and was happy to have tried this ambitious collaboration from Yazoo and New Belgium.
For a ton more details on the beer, Brandon from Embrace the Funk, who worked with Yazoo on Rufus, has a great post on his blog about the beer. He describes Rufus as “dry, wild, tart, dark fruit forward with a solid sour backbone and slight caramel malt finish.”
Try it this week, Memphis. You won’t get to taste it again.
Who else has tried it? Let me know what you think in the comments below.