Oklahoma is known for many things, not the least of which include great barbeque and a musical about a "surrey with a fringe on top." Compared to California, however, the region hasn't typically been known as a hotbed for craft brewing. Prairie Artisan Ales, however, are aiming to change that notion.
The folks at Prairie specialize in rustic farmhouse ales, which is fitting for a brewery in rural Oklahoma. Many of their beers fall into the Saison category, with many making use of wild yeast and bacteria. This week's featured beer, 'Merica, is one such funky brew. This uniquely American take on a Saison showcases one hop , Nelson Sauvin, and one malt, floor-malted pilsner (it's a more sanitary process than it sounds). The beer pours with a rustic, hazy light orange hue. You'll immediately notice aromas of white grape, a hallmark of the Nelson hop. There's a slightly grassy quality that works well with additional notes of tropical citrus fruit from the hops.
The beer also makes use of a unique blend of yeast components. In addition to Prairie's proprietary farmhouse yeast, a white wine yeast bolsters the grape quality of the Nelson hop. Conditioning with two strains of the wild yeast Brettanomyces lends an earthy, funky undertone and the classic "horse blanket" character found in many Belgian sour brews. Between the barnyard yeast and citrusy hop character, the brew reminds us of riding a horse on a tropical island (one of our favorite pastimes).
We found 'Merica at Healthy Spirits alongside a selection of 5 other Prairie brews. Beer manager David Hauslein recommends sampling the entire lineup, and likened Praire Artisan Ales to Jolly Pumpkin Brewing, an operation that has become known for its rustic ales, most of which are brewed with brettanomyces and souring bacteria. Snatch 'em up while the weather is begging for it.