If you’re unfamiliar with Strange Fellows’ Fellowship program, you seriously need to change that. The East Van Belgian-influenced brewery has been putting out some of its best releases as part of this limited release beer club. You get exclusive access to eight bottles of four limited release beers, free swag, tasting room discounts and, arguably the best part, free admission to exclusive Fellowship tasting events. Plus you get a cool pin to let everyone know that you’re better than them. I’ve been a member the past two years and the latest release, Vixen, has convinced me to re-up for next year.
Here Strange Fellows has taken its award-winning Reynard oud bruin (basically a Belgian-style sour brown ale) and aged it in French oak with ripe cherries. The result is absolutely sublime and legitimately stacks up against the Belgian originals it is inspired by.
The nose is tart and tannic with notes of dark fruit, molasses, vanilla and vinegar. The flavour is rich and complex: imagine eating a slice of cherry pie while sitting on an antique leather chair in a dimly lit reading room surrounded by dark wood and old books as a fire gently crackles nearby in the fireplace. That’s exactly what this beer tastes like. There’s cherry, oak, red wine, tobacco, leather—all of it perfectly in balance, every facet of this beer complementing each other.
If you’re not a fan of Belgian sours, then Vixen may not be your cup of sumptuous, delightfully complex tea. But if you’re familiar with oud bruins, you need to try this beer immediately.
Occasionally Fellowship beers make it on to Strange Fellows’ vintage bottle list at the tasting room, but they understandably don’t last long. So if you see Vixen in the wild, and have an opportunity to try this beer, I suggest you take it.
Vixen by Strange Fellows Brewing
7.0% ABV • 750 mL bottles
Appearance: Cloudy dark brown with a healthy tan head.
Aroma: Cherry, oak, molasses, vanilla, vinegar.
Flavour: Tart cherries, dark fruit, vanilla, oak, leather, tobacco, balsamic vinegar, red wine.
Body/Finish: Medium bodied with a tart, acidic finish.
Pairs with: Roasted duck, prosciutto, antique rugs and pure beer-induced bliss.