5/3/2020: Tales from the Cellar #8--MadTree Brewing Company's Sequoia's Gift

12:11 PM

If there was ever a beer I 100% intentionally aged, it's this. I mean, to be absolutely fair, I've intentionally aged a lot of beers over the last handful of years. But a beer aged in hopes that it'd drink better than it did fresh? Yeah, this is the only one in that category.

Lottie's just a fixture of this bottle shots now.
Since we're still under a Stay at Home order here in Ohio (or, I guess now it's a Keep Ohio Safe order?), I'm still chugging along with my Tales from the (now dwindling) Cellar series. In light of that, today's entry is a special offering from MadTree's venerable Funk Series: Sequoia's Gift. Let's get into it.

I'm doing the MadTree spiel from memory here (I'm on the porch and trying to finish this bit before the oncoming storm rolls in; forgive any lapses in memory/history). The brewery, the first in Cincinnati to can its beer (maybe the first craft brewery to can? I can't quite recall) opened in 2013. Originally located in Cincinnati neighborhood of Kennedy Heights, MadTree relocated to a bigger facility in Oakley in 2017.

Okay. The storm chased me inside. Here's MadTree's "About" page. How'd I do?

Since I can't find any official description of the 2017 Sequoia's Gift anywhere online, my bottle'll do us. It's a blonde ale brewed with brettanomyces and aged in red wine puncheons. Actually, scratch that first sentence of the paragraph; an official blurb about the ale can be found accompanying a picture on MadTree's Funk Day 2017 facebook page. The only addition to what I found on my bottle's label is the ABV: 7.2%.

You know how I said I'd aged this intentionally? That's because, fresh. it had a bunch of Dum Dums' buttered popcorn sweetness, which wasn't appealing to me three years ago. How's the ale now?

The nose is fine mix of sour and sweet. Almost strawberry rhubarb pie-like. In fact, I'm finding heavy berry notes: strawberry, raspberry, marionberry. Aside from the aforementioned rhubarb, I'm also picking up on some apple. This is all fruit with with that sour rhubarb note. I'm really enjoying it, but I can't say the same for Purrl--she gave my bottle two trepid whiffs.

I also can't say I'm getting any fake buttered popcorn here--Sequoia's Gift is all berry with a twinge of sour at the finish. There's a slight booziness--just so--and a touch of woody vanilla from the barreling process. Overall, I'm pleased to report that this is a beer that's mellowed out over time and become something far greater that what I originally perceived it to be. I do find some green strawberry stem coating my cheeks after the beer's gone.

My bottle was a definite gusher, but the ale it contains is pretty smooth. Sure, it's bitey at the end of each swig, but there's not as much carbonation as I would've expected given the whole overflow situation I experienced once I popped off the cap.

Drinking this, I'm thinking of my old neighborhood, before Michelle and I moved out of Cincinnati. During Sundays (when it was warm), I'd go for runs. My favorite route was due north of our apartment, up to and through one of the city's best parks: French Park. The way back was mostly uphill and, during the summer months, I'd work of a bit of a sweat. After reaching the peak of the hill, I'd run right by the door of a neighborhood pharmacy, taking in the air-conditioning and relishing the brief moment of coolness before finishing my run. That momentary chill on those hot summer runs is what Sequoia's Gift is to me now.

I'm happy I let MadTree's Sequoia's Gift age. It's gone from something I found to be unpalatable to an ale that reminds me of my favorite summer days. If you aged a bottle, too, I'm imploring you: crack into it now--there's no need to wait anymore. Fresh, I'd give the ale an 7.0/10. Now, after aging it for three years, it's an easy 9.5/10. If you have a bottle, don't wait anymore.

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