Understanding Brett, Foeders and the beer they make

Beer Of The Week

Understanding Brett, Foeders and the beer they make

Last month, 2nd Street Brewing released 5 new variants of its Bridget series of Brett beers. I’ve had Brett beers before, but before I cracked these open, I wanted to spend more time understanding what Brett is and what it means. On top of that, these new beers were also Foeder Aged, which is another term that I wanted to know about, and how the two would come together.

What Is Brett

Short for Brettanomyces, “Brett” is a type of yeast that can be used to ferment beer. Unlike typical yeasts used in beer making, Brett is described as being “wild” and creates some “funky” flavors.

Brett can impart flavors such as tropical fruit, horse blanket, barnyard, wood, or metallic. While these flavors can be pleasant in small amounts, they can also taint a beer. Because Brett is quite tenacious and robust, it can be difficult to get rid of. It’s able to consume compounds that normal brewers yeast cannot. If brewing equipment isn’t properly sanitized, Brett can infect beer and turn it into something it was never intended to be. Basically, a brewer best know what they’re doing.

While most of my experience with Brett has been with sour ales, keep your eye open for it being used in Belgian styles, IPAs, Saisons, farmhouse, even dark beers.

What is Foeder Aging

A foeder (pronounced FOOD-er) is made of wood and is a large fermentation and aging device. The foeders allow brewers to separately ferment and age beer with wild yeasts such as Brettanomyces and other bacteria without infecting our other tanks and equipment dedicated to ‘clean’ beer.

These yeasts and bacteria live in the wood forever and carry over from batch to batch. Foeders also have a high beer to wood ratio, meaning the beer aged in them is less likely to have wood characteristics compared to when oak barrels are used. Foeders are not only more efficient but also give brewers more control over the process to create more consistent, complex, and flavorful beers!

Let’s Drink Bridget

Bridget | 5.4 ABV

At its core, Bridget is a foeder aged American Style Farmhouse Ale, and is known as the little sister to another popular 2nd Shift beer, Katy. Bridget pours hazy burnt orange. The flavor is just so slightly tart upfront and then dissipates very quickly. The beer drinks clean, crisp, and reminds you of champagne.  This is actually a great intro to funky sours.

Peach | 5.6 ABV

Bridget Peach

This beer pours a beautiful peachy orange and gives off a slight twinge of peach and citrus on the nose. You’ll get the fine balance of sweet fruit, and tartness upfront and the flavor is resonant for a few seconds but does not linger.

The peach is more subtle than overwhelming, as is the sour.


SourSop | 5.6 ABV

Pour a cloudy sunrise orange, and gives off a pineapple aroma on the nose. The flavor starts sour upfront, but then quickly gives way to an almost strawberry and apple hint that lingers in the back for a bit.

There is a nice wavering tartness that comes and goes.

Feijoa | 5.6 ABV

Like its base, this beer is strong on the fruit and has just enough funk and tartness to be fun, but there is nothing overpowering in this beer or this series. This beer is designed for summer consumption and plenty of it.


Blackberry | 5.6 ABV

Pours much redder than I was expecting, the dark red berry color makes you think you’re about to drink a juice bomb, but true to style, and Bridget, Blackberry is subtle on the tartness. This drinks smoother and a bit thicker than the others, almost like a kettle sour, but without the juice burst.


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