Review of Pretty Things Lovely Saint Winefride

13 Sep
Hi guys.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to try the Pretty Things Lovely Saint Winefride produced by the Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Let’s go ahead and skip the small talk and jump to the website,, and see what it has to say about this beer.
Lovely Saint Winefride is a brown lager, brewed by Dann using a decoction mash. The beer is malty, containing a blend of German and English malts, and it’s clean as you’d expect from a lager. The beer was lagered over deepest winter for 8 weeks and will be available in kegs and 22oz bottles in MA, with bits and pieces going elsewhere in the USA.

St Winefride lived in post-Roman Wales from 600 to 660 A.D. She was charming and intelligent, and decided to become a nun. Unfortunately, this news went down poorly with her suitor, Caradoc, who hacked off her head. Luckily, her Uncle Beuno was able to perform the miracle of reattaching it and she recovered fully. (Hooray!). She became an Abbess and governed Gwytherin Abbey in Wales until her death on November 3rd, 660 A.D.

The lager, yes lager, started out as an idea to create a very rustic beer with a roasted character and a brown disposition. We imagined a pre-Great War sort of beer that might have been on its last legs of popularity. The kind of beer young folks of the time would laugh about as being “an old man’s lagerbier”. Well Pretty Things is the old-man’s-dream-beer-brewer, so we decided to give it a whirl. We started with malted barley and hops from the German tradition and employed a single decoction mash. Decoction is a slightly complicated, time intensive and little used technique (on this continent anyway) that insured temperature accuracy in the age before real temperature control. Got it? Okay, that was a boring explanation. How is this: we took a portion of the mash and boiled it at 212 degrees F for 15 minutes. Trust us, boiling a mash is rare. Dann has only done this once in his twenty year career (on purpose anyway). Ahem. We continue by saying this brown lager is also quite delicious and nice to drink. If you choose to not think about boiling mashes and old men we assure you this beer will still very much please your palate.

I know, rather lengthy.  Let’s get to the beer.

This brew comes in a 22 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of 7.0%.

It poured brown in color with some burnt orange highlights around the bottom and edges of the nonic glass.  It had a light tan head that was sized pretty well, very smooth and creamy.  The retention time was ok and the lacing looked pretty good too.

The aroma released hints of smoke with a slight fried bacon smell.  Touches of coffee bean and a bit of a hickory nut smell.  Quite earthy with strong tones of roasted and toasted grains.  I thought it smelled pretty darn good actually.

The taste was kind of woody and only lightly smoked.  Toasted grains and bread with additional hints of bitter coffee.  Again, kind of nutty tasting.  More of the earthiness really started to come through as it warmed a bit.  It was unique and complex, but balanced nicely.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Fairly dry, slightly chewy and smooth.  The carbonation was good and a good dose of flavor was left behind on the palate after each gulp.

You know, even though this beer was a bit different, I really liked it.  I think it would pair very well with the cooler months of the year.  The drinkability was rather good, although I did start to have a little bit of trouble towards the end because of the somewhat bold earthy flavoring.  However, I would easily recommend the Pretty Things Lovely Saint Winefride if you are looking to experiment with a lager that’s far from the norm.  Not to mention it has a really cool looking label also.  With that being said, pick up a bottle if you happen to see it and give it a go.  I think you may be surprised by it.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.0 out of 5
Grade:  B+

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Posted by on September 13, 2012 in Country: USA, Pretty Things


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