Fraise | Dovetail Brewing
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It was June of 2016. A new brewery opened its doors in Chicago, focusing on continental European styles. Only a lager, hefeweizen and rauchbier were on tap then. They would continue to put other styles on throughout the rest of the year, but there was something brewing on the second floor of this brewery. Dovetail Brewing began brewing their lambic-style beers from the get-go, but it would be sometime before things like Fraise became available.
The day finally arrived. Kriek, Dovetail’s cherry lambic-style beer, went on sale in July 2018. We at ABV Chicago had been waiting for this day as well. The chance to buy a lambic-style beer made in Chicago was something we could only dream about up to that point. And then more and more kept coming out. Petit Gueuze. 12.25.16. More fruited ones – including Framboise (raspberry), Pomme (apple) and Peche (peach) – kept showing up on tap at Dovetail.
Then the pandemic hit. Due to the taproom being at first closed and then open with limited seating, Dovetail pivoted to bottles for their lambic-style beers. While only the Kriek had a formal bottle release previously, now all the lambic-style beers received the bottling treatment. So while placing an order for the Baltic Porter, I had my options – 11 different options! Since we had already done the Quetsche, I chose Dovetail’s Fraise, mainly due to the fact that not too many beers – let alone lambic-style beers – use strawberry.
Fraise (French for strawberry) pours dingy gold with some orange hues. A lovely two fingers of head dissipates to a nice thin layer resting on top. It could be the power of suggestion, but I swear a hint of red or pink showed up in the light. Upon opening the bottle and pouring, strawberry sherbet or a strawberry candy of some kind filled the room. The strawberries notes, however, merely masked the underlying funk. Once the funk came out, it couldn’t be contained. Although mild in nature, it slowly dominated the aroma of the beer. Cheese rind and barnyard scents followed, along with a slight lemony tartness.
It seems most American breweries that are doing lambic-style fruited beers go one of two ways – funky or tart/sour. Fraise exists on the funky side of the spectrum but it never gets too funky for its own good. (For reference, in my experience Funk Factory’s lambic-style beers fall more into the tart and sour side of things.) A mild cheese rind flavor slowly grows along with that funk, but the lemon and inherent tartness of the beer do a nice job on keeping the reigns on that funk. The high carbonation keeps things moving along and the very dry finish keeps you going back for more.
Wait. Something’s missing. Wasn’t this beer called Fraise? Those strawberries can’t really compete with the funky tartness of the beer, existing very mildly and adding a hint of fruitiness. It honestly pops a bit more after sipping, taking a short break, and then drinking again. Only because it’s called Fraise would I say there are strawberries in it. I perceived some fruit notes, but nothing distinguishes it from a handful of other fruits.
As much as I’d like to #tablethelabel on this one, I can’t help but not. I really just want more strawberry coming off the beer. It comes off as a lambic-style with a hint of some fruit. If you want their lambic-style, go for either their 12.25 series of beers or their Vignette. If you want fruit, go with the delicious Kriek or the outstanding Quetsche. Based on what I had here you could take a chance on the Myrtille or Cab Franc. You can’t go wrong. I mainly chose Fraise based on my interest in strawberry lambic-style beers, with most of my appreciation coming from Bullfrog’s Le Roar Grrz Aardbei. While Fraise doesn’t quite hit that delicate balance of funk, fruit, and tartness, it does shine in it’s own way. Still, the most amazing thing about Fraise is that it was brewed and readily available in Chicago.
Dovetail Brewing’s Fraise, along with all their other beers, can be purchased for pick-up at their website. Seriously, it’s all good.