Pretty Things has been a favorite brewery for a while, now. St-Botolph's Town is in regular rotation in the fridge, and Jack D'or also makes regular rounds at our table.
When we saw the latest new pretty thing in the cooler at Good Beer, LOVELY SAINT WINEFRIDE, it was a given that we'd be trying it before long.
L-St-W is billed as a "brown lager brewed using a decoction method to mark the end of winter." Good timing, then, as the temperature is to climb to near 60-degrees this week!
The beer is a very dark brown color, as viewed from a wide goblet. The color reminds me of Turkey Pond in Concord, N.H., which has a slightly iodine color just on the top, super dark brown just inches below the surface, and then quickly brown to black. St-W has a modest, tan lace along the edge of the glass.
There is an assertive, bold, long lasting and consistent mild roast aroma -- it's strong without being acrid or burnt. There seems to be some real fruitiness, but from hops and not yeast? You don't expect that from a lager, unless it's fermented a bit warmer than usual -- and as their website notes, it was fermented a bit warm, "as low as 53-degrees" which might account for the dry frutiness, á la a Steam Beer or Kölsch.
The flavor is also roasty, and extremely chewy! It's very malty, mildy roasty and bitter. And, again, not acrid bitter, but rather hoppy bitter. Perhaps the decoction mashing added a hint of darkened caramel flavor, mixing about the hop bite.
Of course, decoction mashing means that a portion of the mash is brought to a boil and then re-added back to the main mash, in order to step up the temperature to help activate different enzymes to convert starches to various sugars.
At 7% abv, it's not quite a session beer and not quite a 10-ounce pour, but it's a richly flavored solid dark-brown beer best savored with relaxed patience and prolonged enjoyment. Let St-Winnie bless your tankard!