Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, Confounded Mr. Sisyphus



Pours light golden straw, hazy, with a nice white head that is rocky and frothy. The aroma isn't overwhelming in any way, however there is a slight note of Belgian witbier yeast. There is a crisp toast nose, backed by some very slight sweetness and a hint of spicyness. Some fresh fruit as well, but I had to hunt for it. The aroma has some floral qualities to it, and reminds me of some chardonnays and other white wines I've had. Body is medium light, with a very dry finish. There is a little bitterness in the back of the palate, some very slight hop presence but not much. There is a floral, rose petal impression in the flavor. As my glass warms a bit, I'm starting to taste a little of the stone fruit, but I couldn't immediately peg it as cherries. I'm not entirely dissapointed with the lack of cherry flavor here. All too often do cherry beers taste like artificial garbage, and I had a bit of trepidation trying this one due to that prejudice. Although this does indeed finish dry, there is a certain roundness in the body that makes it very interesting. There are certainly parallels here with Belgian hefeweizens and witbiers, but this one doesn't walk that line, in fact it stays resolutely to the left of it.

At first sip many drinkers would dismiss this beer as "bland," or at the very most a "Belgian." Honestly, after Pretty Things' Baby Tree and St. Botolphs Town, Confounded Mr. Sisyphus is a complete 180. Where the other two were robustly flavorful beers, this one takes the much less appreciated subtle route. However if you take your time with this and search out those flavors, you'll find that it has quite a bit to offer. The use of malolactic fermentation (adding a certain bacteria to the beer post-primary ferment) rounds out the acidity quite nicely, and is a technique used almost exclusively by winemakers. The suspension of the yeast into solution, however, I think is absolutely paramount. Without doing that, this beer would fall flat and wouldn't express it's true nature. Like many traditional witbiers and hefeweizens, the yeast play a vital role in the flavor profile here. It's unusual to see so many Belgian inspired ales coming from a British brewer, but then again nothing about Pretty Things is usual.