When this beer came out three or four years ago, there was strong opposition. Reviews leaned towards the vom-esgue. They rejected it. Yet John Graham, the owner and brewer of Ontario's tiny Church-Key Brewing, held his ground. It was what he intended. A challenge.
Years pass. A bottle that I picked up at the brewery sleeps in the stash. Lactic acid works along with the other constituents to make their peace. And while this may well still be infanticide - while years more might work marvels - what we have is a strong statement. Flemish brown meets old Ontario cheddar... or is it chevre bleu? Lots of soy sauce and dark cherry, too. It's quite extraordinary. As the beer opens, there is maybe less of the cheese and more of the Flem... did I say that? Yet, be of no doubt, this is wickedly tang-er-iffic. Tang-tastic. Cheetos meets balsamic meets soft water guzzle. A beer full of life and full of a sourness you never knew existed.
So, is this good beer? It is. Re-imagined, bracketed with more malt and more spicy yeast, it might make a beer that takes ten to twenty years to make gorgeous like a vintage port. As it is, it is as worthy as any beer that makes you suck back belly full wave of burning hop acid or leaves you thinking that you licked a smoky ash tray. It's not like anything you ever had. I am glad I waited and, then, that I didn't.