There’s a Bridesmaid’s Tear in Noble Rey’s New Beer. And We’re Into It.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Noble Rey Brewing Company‘s Bridesmaid’s Tears.

 

Fast Facts on Noble Rey Bridesmaid’s Tears.
Style: Farmhouse.
ABV: 7 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): Not Available.
Color: Orange-ish pink.
Availability: Summer seasonal, on draft. (As of this writing, Noble Rey is still awaiting TABC approval for packaging.)

Overview.
I’m back at Noble Rey Brewing Company’s tap room. Each time I visit, I notice small changes that make the tap room cooler. This time, it’s the pop-up arcade situation in the corner. Noble Rey is one of few DFW production breweries that is also trying out the brewpub thing. It serves its beer by the pint and crowler (for now, barring any more changes by our friends at TABC), yet it also serves a whole bunch of other local and not-so-local offerings, both on draft and pre-packaged. It has been a good experience watching this startup grow. At its one-year anniversary, Noble Rey served a curiously tart kettle soured strawberry rhubarb saison. And now the beer has made its way in to cans as a seasonal offering.

Because Noble Rey doesn’t have cans approved yet, nor does it have any production cans to show me, I have included the planned can design in this post (posted with permission, of course). I asked owner and occasional brewer Chris Rigolout if Bridesmaid’s Tears was the same beer that Noble Rey served that day. And he said that the recipe is wicked close, minus the yogurt.

Not to take this review in to weirdo town straight away, but let’s cover the yogurt thing real quick. First, let’s go over how the brewer classifies Bridesmaid’s Tears: it’s a strawberry rhubarb kettle soured saison. That’s a lot. But let’s just focus in on the soured part. In order to get some goodies growing and make this beer sour, Noble Rey added yogurt in that one-year anniversary batch. Rigolout mentioned that the anniversary batch was a little bit too cloudy for his liking, so a slightly different pH changer was used in Bridesmaid’s Tears. But the concept remains the same. Now let’s covered the kettle part. For beers like Bridesmaid’s Tears, and even some other sour styles like Berliner Weisse, it is common to do the souring part up front, before the boil (in the kettle). Usually, a brewer will hold wort at a certain temperature for an extended period of time to activate bacteria to lower the pH. And sometimes a brewer will acidify the mash itself to achieve a change in pH. There’s a lot of options here! This up-front souring allows brewers to ramp the sour beer timeline in to warp speed. It also helps lower some contamination risk, a side benefit of the quicker production cycle.

 

Background on Farmhouse Ale.
The saison style belongs to a larger catchall farmhouse style, so let’s cover some farmhouse traits. Farmhouse ales are known to be high attenuators, with medium to high carbonation. Common flavors include citrus, a berry sort of peppery bite, and a slight funk. For more on the farmhouse style, check out our review of Four Corners’ El Superbee de Saison. If you want another take on the farmhouse style, then check out our review of The Collective Brewing Project’s Urban Funkhouse.

Appearance.
Bridesmaid’s Tears pours a pinkish orange sort of color, and it is very hazy. There’s a razor thin layer of head off the tap, but it disappears almost immediately. Unlike some other unfiltered-looking styles, this beer is hazy through-and-through. It does not clear, but the haze is uniform. I don’t see any weirdo chunks or other random bits-and-bobs in here.

Aroma.
When I sniff Bridesmaid’s Tears, I get tartness — crazy tartness! It smells like grapefruit to me, even though this is a strawberry and rhubarb beer. But maybe I’m not too far off. Because the rhubarb smells sharp and bright, and the sourness from the kettle souring puts the aroma over in to grapefruit town.

 

Flavor.
From the first to last sip, the tartness makes my cheeks tingle… and I dig it. It’s not a future heartburn sort of flavor, nor is it a throat-burner. The rhubarb is here, and it’s nice. Rhubarb is one of those plants that sort of changes flavors once cooked. Ever eat a rhubarb pie? Then you know what I’m talking about. The strawberry is here, but it’s sort of in the background. There’s also a lemon sort of twang, perhaps a byproduct of the saison yeast used in fermentation. Hops are almost non-existent, and that’s A-OK; most sour/tart beers are lowly hopped.

Mouthfeel.
The mouthfeel is on point. Even though the head seems to flee the scene, there’s a medium-high level of carbonation present. It accompanies the tartness nicely. The sweetness on this beer is low, even though it’s sort of a fruity kind of beer; it is imminently dry.

 

Overall Impression.
Bridesmaid’s Tears is one of those beers that straddles styles. It’s a type of sour — a quick sour. Sorry, lambic purist snobs, this beer is brewed rather quickly and it’s out the door. A brewery has to make money after all, am I right? It’s also a fruit beer — the rhubarb and strawberry additions help to round out the tartness a little bit. And third, it’s a saison. There’s a subtle citrus twang and funk going on here. It’s got a lot going on. It’s bright, refreshing and, even as tart as it is, it’s surprisingly easy-drinking. If you have a pool party or outside cookout, this would be an excellent beer to have around. And maybe even try this sort of beer on one of those I don’t like beer jerks, because this beer is a far departure from anything on the usual.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Noble Rey Bridesmaid’s Tears an 8.

 

What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Friday, June 10. BBQ for a Cause at Tupps Brewery.
• Saturday, June 11. Untapped: Fort Worth at Panther Island Pavilion.
• Saturday, June 18. Best Little Brew Fest In Texas at Old Town Lewisville.
• Saturday, June 25. Brew Bus Father’s Day Tour.
• Sunday, June 26. Toadies Concert/Hell Below and Stars Above Release Party at Martin House Brewery.
• Sunday, July 16. One-Year Anniversary at Oak Highlands Brewery.
• Saturday, August 6. Local Brews, Local Grooves at House of Blues.
• Saturday, October 1. Texas Beer Camp at Long Road Farm.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Nine Bands’ Cactus Cat: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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