Name: Bridge Road Brewers Yee-Hah
Style: Sour Ale
Beer Description: Bridge Road Brewers have recently begun on their Mayday Hills range of beers. This range is fermented in American oak foeder tanks. A foeder tank is basically just a wooden barrel used for fermenting. In the case of Bridge Road, they use big ones! This allows for a most consistent fermentation and beer rather than fermenting in many different barrels.
Bridge Road have only recently started experimenting with foeder tanks. Foeder tanks are the cornerstone of their Mayday Hills range. This range uses local ingredients to create new and exciting beers to be enjoyed by beer drinkers!
The first beer in the new Mayday Hills series is the Yee-Hah. Yee-Hah is beer fermented using only Brettanomyces (also known as Brett). Brettanomyces is a range of yeast that’s used less often in brewing. Most beers out there use Saccharomyces yeasts, but may add small amounts of Brett in order to impart sour, wild, or funky flavours to a beer. Bridge Road decided to use nothing but Brett for the Yee-Hah.
Talking to Australian Brew News, Bridge Road’s founder Ben Kraus points out that just like Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces has a range of strains that will impart different flavours and esters into a beer. Bridge Road chose Brett C, as it doesn’t put too many off flavours into the beer.
Some love Brett beers because of their wild and farmhouse feel. Brett is a yeast that hasn’t gone through generations and generations of select breeding to make specific kinds of beer, so brewers are still playing with different Brett strains and the flavours that can be found. So there’s always those out there keen to see what Brettanomyces has to offer.
Bridge Road’s Yee-Hah offers the refreshing sour aspect of a Brett beer but is surprisingly mild considering that there’s no “normal” yeast in there to stop it from going too far. The brewery points out that they’re trying to “[produce] a clean beer that showcases the profile that Brett creates when in the right conditions.” They’ve really accomplished this, even it does upset the drinkers who were after something a little more wild.
The beer is quite versatile, and a bit confusing in a few ways. The brewery is allowing both the hops and the yeast to bring about some interesting flavours, so it’s very difficult to pinpoint what’s being tasted in as the beverage goes down. It’s also hard to tell whether the different aromas and flavours are coming from the hops, the yeast, or even the malt on occasion.
What can be found easily though is the slight sour of the Brett along with the slightly dirty mouthfeel found in Brett beers. It’s a pretty typical Pale Ale style beer, but with a wild streak to it that turns an otherwise ordinary beer into something a lot more fun and interesting.
Sure, Bridge Road could have tried to be a bit more ballsy with the base recipe, but that would have gone against the point of making a 100% Brett beer, it would have taken away from trying to show off the fun of the Brettanomyces yeast in all of its glory.
A lot of other breweries would have gotten this wrong, but Bridge Road got this one right. It’s balanced in all the way it needs to be. It’s a beer that can be enjoyed by most types of craft beer drinkers, whether they’re into something funkier or trying to get into the more interesting side of things, Bridge Road’s Yee-Hah does well.
Finally, it will be interesting to see where future releases of this beer goes as other beers are put through the foeder tanks! Hopefully the wood soaks up some interesting characteristics from the different recipes and changes up beers for years to come.
Check out other Sour Ale reviews.
See other reviews of Bridge Road beers.