Monday, June 9, 2014

Two Brothers Fathom

Fathom by Two Brothers brewery (Warrenville, IL) is an American sour ale two years in the makingand it was worth every second. For those of you who do not enjoy the embroidery of beer geekery, let me cut this thread short: Fathom is delicious. Find some and drink it now.
For those of us remaining, let’s geek out and make something beautiful, which is what this beer deserves.

First, Fathom has made a hypocrite of me—I am not a fan of Two Brothers beer. Never have been. But this beer is fantastic. We have the Brothers’ acquisition of French oak foudres (which brought us recent local favorites such as Resistance IPA and Long Haul) and the new Project Opus series to thank.
I have been drinking Fathom from the tap for about a week now, and have actually experienced craving for it—not the typical, “I-could-go-for-a-beer” that always hits me about 6pm, but full on “I-wonder-what-Fathom-is-doing-right-now” late-morning fantasies. Here’s why:
It pours easily, with a light head and moderate carbonation. The aroma is very light and subtle, but you definitely smell the oak, which gives it a nice California Chardonnay impression. It’s a fresh, leisurely scent, with just a touch of alcohol to it, so you can breathe deep and snuff it a little to maximize your pleasure. . . Close your eyes and pretend you are sitting at the edge of a wooded area, in Sonoma’s dry heat. The taste starts winey, with a bit of over-ripe grape sweetness that is quickly overcome by a perfectly balanced brett/lacto tartness and oak—lots of oak that somehow remains light while dominating the palate. As the grape fades, it’s replaced by an apple-berry cider-ness that tastes wild to me—not the thornless, flavorless blackberries you get at the grocery or Farmer’s Market, but the kind you have to hit a fence row for, and get a little scratched up. Overall, the flavor is complex, refreshing, and carries a nice funk that keeps it interesting glass after glass. This beer will be gone before your taste buds tire of it, so find some patio seating and get to drinkin’.

Reviewed by Charitianne

Since reviewing Fathom from draft, I've had a chance to drink some from the bottle--also delicious. The bottle label contains this little gem, "Aged sour can be enjoyed now or cellared 5-10 years," a lovely reminder missing from other Two Brothers sours, Tangent and Askew. Well, Askew did actually say that the beer could be aged, but without the bravado of the Fathom label: the Brothers are serious about aging their latest Opus. (I have accordingly set back a few bottles). If you never had the chance, Askew was a delicious sour--I am out. I opened a bottle of Tangent, aged 1.5 years, just tonight. Skip it. Aging hasn't improved what was an average beer to begin with.