Sofie: Slang for taking a picture of yourself while sitting on your sofa drinking a beer
Beer: Sofie / Wine Barrel Aged Saison with Orange Peel / 6.5% ABV
Brewery: Goose Island / Chicago / Illinois
Age: Bottled March, 2013 (over one year old)
Verdict: Evidence Of How Aging Beer Can Be Magical / 96
You walk into a store and purchase a 2007 Cabernet with the intent of bringing it to a friend’s apartment for his/her party they are having to celebrate their new promotion at work. Unfortunately, in between combing your hair and jamming out to the latest tunes on the radio in front of the bathroom mirror, you forget the bottle on the kitchen counter as you head out to your car to leave. Bummed that you forgot to bring a gift for your friend’s party, you drive home after it has ended feeling like a freeloader that has just imbibed and munched on free food and booze at the expense of others for 3 hours with nothing to contribute yourself.
When you swing open the door to your apartment and throw your keys on the counter, they slide across the tile and clank against the bottle. At first you are unsure what to do with the bottle. Should you drink it? You are about to pull out your wine opener from the silverware drawer when you decide that you have already drunk enough for the evening and will just put the wine in your pantry until you find a use for it. Days turn to weeks which melt into months that transform into years.
One day you are cleaning out your pantry in a random fit of sanitizing craze for Spring cleaning when you come across the forgotten bottle of wine. It had been hidden behind a couple boxes of cake mix, a big bottle of soy sauce and stacks of canned soup that you had purchased on sale. Pulling it out by the neck, you brush the thin layer of dust off of the bottle and rotate it in your hands as you look at the label and suddenly remember that this was the infamous ‘forgotten bottle’ that had soured your relationship with your obviously very shallow friend for not bringing a gift to his/her promotion party.
You realize it is 4:15 in the afternoon and that it is 5:00 somewhere in the world, so you grab a wine glass out of the cupboard and open the bottle of vino. You do not know how it is going to taste. The 2007 bottle of Cab had been purchased in 2014 and it is now 2017. Ten years is a long time for 750ml of liquid to just stay cooped up in a bottle. Oh well, it will at least be an interesting little experiment.
As you pour the contents of the bottle into your glass, the light catches the cascade of wine in a way that makes it glow blood-red and shine like freshly polished silver. A gentle breeze blows into your house from the open kitchen window and catches the wine’s aroma, gently wafting it up into your nose. Notes of juicy berries, oak and a little leather hit your olfactory senses and shock your sense of smell awake with a jolt. Your mouth begins to water and you feel a grumbling in your stomach. Your entire body is fighting to procure a drop of the sweet nectar that has now splashed into your glass.
The first sip can only be likened to that of an orgasm. Your eyes roll back slightly and you lick your lips happily as you swallow the moutful of delicious ambrosia. Your lips scream for another meeting with the wine and before you know it your glass is empty. Every gulp goes down like silk sliding off stee, without any alcohol burn or intense tannic drying. Before long, you are vertically shaking the bottle trying to get the very last drop from the inside until it reluctantly lets go of the lips of the bottle and plops into your glass with a faint ‘plop’.
Was the wine this good when you bought it? You do not know because you had never had it before. All you know is that what you have just drunk was one of the most magicall experiences of your life.
If you bothered to read my story above (probably not because I know all people these days have the attention span of a fly) you find out that a silly mistake turned into one of the best experiences a person could have. Personally, there is nothing like cracking open a beer and from the moment that the stream of liquid pours out of the spout into the glass, knowing that what you are about to drink is going to be special.
This is what happened when I drank this bottle of Sofie. It is a bottle that has been sitting on shelves of a local beer store for over a year. Most people might see it and think “how can they bother to sell expired beer here” without knowing that, yes, for a hoppy IPA sitting on the shelves for a year is a travesity. However, for a Saison aged in wine barrels, a year in the bottle is a year that allows the yeast to continue changing and evolving the beer it lives in; sometimes this is for the better and other times it is for the worse.
In short, do a little reading and find out which beers can be aged and the next time you see one around, try and grab multiples so you can drink it every so often and seen how it transforms. Honestly, it is one of the coolest things you will ever experience.
Without Further Adoo…RELEASE THE CRACKIN!
🔹On To The Aroma
When it is fresh, this beers smells like your quinessential Saison: Bready, peppery with a little lemon peel and yeast. When I smell this, is it all about the wine. It smells like other American Wild Ales in how you get a little lactic acid and lemon juice. There is also a great vinous presence from the time spent in the barrel as well as a little citrus from the orange peel. It does not smell like a Saison anymore. It smells like a completely new beer
🔹On To The Flavor
Wow, this is pleasantly tart. The original Sofie is insanely carbonated with a little tartness that some Saisons are known to have. This one, however, tastes like a tame Wild Ale. I honestly feel like another year in the bottle with make this one a total ‘pucker inducer.’ Apple flesh, tannic grape skins, tart lactic acid and citrus juice with just enough bready-like malt to balance it out. It is insanely fresh, crisp and refreshing. I could drink this all day…and I just might.
🔹On To The Verdict
There are 3 4-packs left at that store and I can safely say that I am buying all of them. This is one of those specials that is good when it is fresh, but turns into something. The only other beer I have had this same experience with is Stone’s Russian Imperial Stout. Buy a 4-pack of this, drink one right away, then drink another one every six months or so to see how it is coming along. I can’t talk this beer up any more. So, I will let my review do the talking and return to finishing this glass so I can drink another.