Reviewed: Sante Adairius Family Whistle b4
From Sante Adairius Rustic Ales: Family Whistle is a call to assemble, an agreed upon way to alert and gather together those you love. Our call is beer. We fermented and aged two unique saisons in French oak puncheons before we added passionfruit and our unique house culture. Time, the often overlooked key ingredient, was kind to these casks. The resulting beer’s aroma calls you in, while a well rounded mouthfeel and gentle acidity invite another sip. All of these, the sirens of our Family Whistle. Sante!
Sante Adairius Rustic Ales – Family Whistle 2021 – 750 mL capped, served in a teku. 7.5% abv.
Sante Adairus busted out on the California scene way back in 2012. As their wares trickled into Southern California bottle shares, I got to judge the hype for myself. Needless to say, I was blown away by the depth of the burgeoning farmhouse program. Whenever I am in the Bay Area I try to make it into their tasting room. While the original brewery and tasting room is cozy, the newer SA Portal is comparatively palatial, serving up beers and house-made grub. Danny Fullpint portioned off part of his Sante stash to me, and here we get to try Family Whistle.
Appearance: Pours a soft golden color, fairly opaque, but not murky. The crackling carbonation provides a volumnus rocky head. Incredibly inviting.
Aroma: Big and complex passionfruit character. I can see why they paired these casks with it; it’s not just passionfruit, but a blend of yeast-derived citrus and phenols that provide it depth. The oak brings a touch of vanilla, playing up the sweetness of the fruit; it comes off almost as a smoothie.
Flavor: Passionfruit, orange, tangerine, lemon, vanilla. The acidity refreshes the palate but in balance a. Adding fruit to beer can add acidity, and when combined with re-fermentation in the bottle, and you send it all out of balance. Sante planned ahead, leaving the beer at just the right place. The base beer shows the strength of the Sante wild culture; a high level fruit expression with only hints of earthy/cheesy funk. The (poise) on this beer is evident in my ability to enjoy the entire bottle over the course of a night.
Overall: Originally a beer for the coveted SARA Cellar 2017, this 2021 release might be one my favorite wild ales this year. The increased acidity in US Wild Ale producers turned me sour (get it?) to adventuring back out. Recent releases from Cellador, Russian River, The Bruery, The Rare Barrel, and now Sante show me the ship is turning around. I hope we see a new renaissance of refined sour/wild ales going forward. If you are fortunate to have a bottle of Family Whistle, I would enjoy it sooner rather than later to get the best passionfruit expression.