5/15/2020: Tales from the Cellar #9--Little Fish Brewing Company's Down Yon Holler (2018)

3:42 PM

Today's bottle is numbered 293/500 which is insanely fitting because it feels like we're on day 293 of our COVID-19-induced lockdown. I know we're nowhere close to being that deep into this but, man, does it feel like it. Today dragged on and on here on the work from home front.

Looks like Lottie's just a permanent fixture in this pics now.
Since we're still knee-deep in COVID-19 territory, I'm still doing my Tales from the Cellar series. Today's is a beer I blindly pulled from my cellar and stuck in my fridge. With the shape of the bottle, I could've sworn it was a Warped Wing or a Jackie O's. Much to my surprise it's from Little Fish, one of my top three Athens, OH breweries! Let's see how Don Yon Holler is drinking two years out from its being bottled (the specific date on the label, if you can't see in the above picture, is 1/10/18).

Little Fish (conveniently located a tad further out than Athens' west side), opened in 2015. A year later the brewery brought home a gold from the World Beer Cup, but that didn't go to their heads. No, instead the brewery, founded by Jimmy Stockwell and Sean White, is focusing on doing the best it can while staying small. This includes: striving to provide health insurance and other benefits to its employees, increasing its spontaneous fermentation program, utilizing local- and Ohio-grown ingredients, improving its sustainability, and more (all of which is detailed on the brewery's Our Story page).

Down Yon Holler is a 7.5% ABV very sour ale brewed with peaches and apricot puree. The blend of beer consists of those aged in oak barrels and bourbon barrels. The full story of the ale is located on its official page--it's worth a read because, if nothing else, it explains roots of the ale's name.

Right of the bat, I get puckering sour from the ale's nose. But, after venturing a little deeper, I find the fruit. Ripe, juicy peach and a slight bit of apricot musk. There're hints of oaky vanilla and bourbon sweetness here but, to be honest, the sour touted in the beer's description is the driving force behind this bouquet. Which, seems to be fine with Háma--he gave my bottle 27 whiffs.

Going in for my first swig and damn is this sour! The good news is that that's lessened on my second and, by the third I'm pretty used to it. There's a lot of wood flavor in the beer, and a hefty amount of bourbon-esque notes, but I'm struggling to pinpoint the peach and the apricot. I guess there's a mild peachiness on my lips after each swig, but that's about it. There's a fruity sweetness mingling with the residual sour in the finish and, if my own brewing experience has taught me anything, it's definitely peach. The thing is, though, that if you didn't know it was peach you wouldn't be able to pick it out as such.

Down Yon Holler has a really pleasant carbonation. It's just barely more bitey than what I'd call velvety, but it's more akin to that than it is to a standard ale. It serves as a fine complement to the oakiness of the beer, if that makes sense to anyone other than me.

As slow as today's been, it hasn't been unpleasant. Maybe that's partially why it was so slow? Sure, it's been overcast all afternoon, lightly raining off and on, but the birds are out and singing and it's warm. There's a cool breeze to keep the heat down. Sitting on my porch, I smell flowers and freshly cut grass. The windchimes we put in for Pip have been joyfully ringing as a woodpecker does his thing in the woods beside me.

It's a damn near perfect evening to drink an ale like this.

Little Fish's Down Yon Holler is a killer brew. Like, easy 9.0/10 killer. I can't speak to how it was fresh but I know that, over time, the sour quotient in sour ales becomes more pronounced. If I'd let this sit another year or so, it probably would've been a little too much for my liking. But, after two years, this ale's drinking mighty fine.

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