This is quite possibly the strangest beer made by an American microbrewery (and I realize how bold of a statement that is), yet it maintains cohesiveness and drinkability. The sages of Spring Green Furthermore Beer produce something they call Thermo Refur. It has plenty of malt and loads of hops. (Not so odd.) They’ve added Brettanomyces wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria. (Okay, a pedestrian eccentricity.) Also black pepper. (Getting stranger…) Did I mention beets as well? Dwight Schrute would be so proud.
Everything I’ve heard has been to give the Refur plenty of air and time. This article over at the Madison Beer Review about Thermo Refur goes into great detail on the role temperature plays in sensory perception. This bottle (from January) has been poured, let’s let it breathe for a minute.
The Refur is ruby, an almost purple-colored brown which hearkens strongly to the beets within. Very active on the pour, it generates plenty of head, a creamy tan. Some of this lasts. The nose is initially very light, with a bit of a dark fruity character that comes across as plums and fruitcake. Some spices accompany this, giving it a clean, cool, peppery aroma. As it warms the fruit turns into pie cherries. Some dusty barnyard aroma is found hiding there.
A rich assortment of dark fruit flavors is revealed at first. Raisins, cherries, plums, and dates are joined by a vinous character. The pepper comes through, too, paired with the hop bitterness to leave a refreshing palate. A hint of sour comes out more and more with air and warmth. The fruit on the tongue opens up as well, revealing raspberries and a just a hint of cough-syrup cherry. A vinegar character grows over time. The carbonation is extremely lively but not at all sharp.
Thermo Refur is quite odd in design. If beer is made with four ingredients, three of the four are weird in this beer. Weird microorganisms: the usual yeast, plus some wild, and bacteria, too. Weird spices: hops but also black pepper. Weird fermentables: beets with the malt. Many breweries nowadays are content to simply throw strange things in a pot and let it go. Furthermore has gone fifteen steps further, crafting an opus of flavor. Despite the nontraditional ingredients this has a somehow familiar flavor. Strange and at the same time sensational.
Furthermore Thermo Refur