Drink This: Purgatory by Steamworks Brewing

Purgatory by Steamworks Brewing
Purgatory by Steamworks Brewing. Rob Mangelsdorf photo

It’s now Week 2 of COVID-19 lockdown and I’ve decided that instead of doing the recklessly irresponsible thing and spending 45 minutes in my local liquor store trying to decide which four or five beers I’m going to buy, I’m just going to drink the beers I already have at home.

My beer cellar is where good beers go to die. While most of the beer in my basement closet cellar was purchased with lofty intentions of future vertical tastings or bottle shares, in reality, I’m just a beer hoarder. So it’s time to do some damage to these dusty, delicious vintage beers.

I thought I’d start things off with a recent edition, the very apropos Purgatory by Steamworks Brewing, which was released a little over a year ago in early 2019. Purgatory is the second collab between Steamworks and Blasted Church Winery, following 2018’s Sanctuary (which was absolutely fantastic).

This barrel-aged brett saison was fermented with Pinot Blanc grape must and bottle conditioned with white wine yeast for a vinous (that means “wine-like”) take on the rustic French farmhouse ale.

The nose is pure barnyard funk and fruit, and the flavour is complex and alluring. The wild brettanomyces yeast imparts earthy notes of wet hay and leather, while the addition of grape must lends flavours of stonefruit, apple and white wine. The champagne-like effervescence and bone-dry finish complete the experience, as does a kiss of tannic astringency.

I’m not sure if it’s benefited at all from a year of aging, but it certainly hasn’t hurt, as Purgatory is absolutely as delicious as I remember it.


Purgatory by Steamworks Brewing

Brett saison • 8.4% ABV • 750 mL bottles

Appearance: Translucent straw gold, with a billowing, fleeting white head.

Aroma: Earthy, funky, wet hay, stonefruit.

Flavour: Funky, earthy, spicy, wet hay, tart, stone fruit, leather, pepper, vinous, slightly tannic.

Body/Finish: Light-medium bodied with a bone dry finish and champagne-like effervescence.

Pairs with: Roast chicken, apple and goat cheese salad, spicy Thai coconut soup and making a fort out of all the toilet paper rolls you’ve hoarded.

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