Been excited to drink this ever since I first saw it available at Pemberton Farms on Mass Ave in Somerville; the combination of great label design, cool name and amazing description on the side (Brett yeast-fermented IPA with a unique fruit added? Sign me up!) just beckoned to me, and it also doesn't hurt that it's by one of my favorite brewing operations; no matter where Jeppe is brewing or who is helping him out, he always comes up with crazy stuff that manages to rock my palate (and my wallet). This is easily one of the most out-there, a variant of the original Femme Fatale Brett, this time with yuzu fruit added. I don't know much about yuzu, but I'm about to get an education; the smell that immediately comes out of the intense, fluffy-headed pour of this lightly-golden IPA is intensely citric, though oriental in character... the Brett yeast is obviously at work here, as the head is just absolutely bonkers, leaving behind tons of spotty, chunky, weird white lace everywhere as it dissipates over the course of five to seven minutes. Yikes!

The yuzu fruit is apparently somewhat like an East Asian grapefruit in flavor, and I get that in the scent, along with some barnyard-y funk, orange peel, musty wood, a bit of a plastic/band-aid smell reminiscent of other funky beers I've had (Boulevard's Saison-Brett and Enlightenment Transcendence Farmhouse Saison -- coincidentally, they're also Brett-fermented beers) and medicinal bitters. This probably doesn't sound like something that would work, but it smells absolutely amazing; like an IPA left to ferment in the open air in Brussels, Femme Fatale Yuzu Pale presents a wonderful nose that lights up more with each sniff, a great blend of fruity, funky and bright scents sure to tingle the noses of hop lovers as well as those who desire something a bit different from their hoppy ales.

So what does it taste like? First, fragile malt is constructed with some brittle, poking carbonation prodding it along before big gushes of tropical fruit, mango, apricot and grapefruit flood the palate just as that's all washed away by tidal waves of earthy yet slightly sour yeasty, chalky, powdery goodness and dry-hop bitterness, which evokes tons of fruity and tart flavors, all leading to a dry, puckering and beckoning finish; utterly irresistible. So, it's absolutely awesome, and exactly what was expected. The drinkability is enhanced by a cool six percent ABV (cheers for not going overboard and potentially washing out the playful flavor with an overly-malty, boozy recipe!) and light-ish body that doesn't stray too far from a typical pale ale idea in theory... in practice, this is quite leftfield, yet close enough to the style to not be alienating. The combination of funky yet uplifting barnyard-like aspects, light notes of tartness and the snappy, citrusy yuzu/tropical flavors enhanced by a presumably very balanced yet tropical fruit-focused hop schedule are all in full-throttle mode here, making this a delightfully enjoyable, fun and experimental beer... one I wish more breweries would toy with! More funky IPAs please!

The official breakdown:

  • Style: American IPA (fermented with Brettanomyces)
  • IPA: 6%
  • Appearance: Very cloudy orange-yellow with a huge, dense, foamy head after each pour. Lacing is sticky and abundant, though not patterned
  • Scent: A wallop of fresh citrus, light crackery malt, band-aid (yeah yeah), pineapple, lemon and orange peel, hay, lightly medicinal
  • Taste: Mango, citrus peel, apricot, yuzu (like grapefruit but more bitter), powdery yeast, very light crackery malt, light green apple tartness
  • Mouthfeel: Hugely effervescent though puckeringly dry; light-medium feel all the way down; great balance of flavor to carbonation
  • Drinkability: This is light, bright and fruity enough to appeal to a wider audience than typical Brett beers, but fancy enough to demand attention

From blogs.lowellsun.com/beer/.