Beer Reviews


Bright as a sunrise with a little spice and a whole lotta twang, this Barrel Aged Sour Ale with lemon, ginger and lavender-smoked malt will pick you up by the hair of the head and lift you off the ground. Loretta is a two-part harmony with our friends at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, and is at turns complex, refined and refreshingly unusual. Read on to get the full rundown on the latest collab from our Outer Reaches universe. 

Reviews are done by Travis Houston, our Sensory Specialist, Certified Cicerone, and FOBAB Judge.

Vintage: 2021 

Months Aged: 24

Cultures: Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, Ketchum Culture


Loretta is an interesting beer with some unusual ingredients. Can you get into the details a bit? There’s a lot going on in this beer: lavender smoked malt, fresh lavender, fresh ginger root, lemon juice, lemon peel, and locally sourced honey all play their part. Our barrel master did plenty of fine tuning to bring these ingredients into harmony, lending a complexity to this beer that manages to be approachable and inviting. This beer was inspired by the Coal Miner’s Daughter, a bourbon based cocktail that shares all these ingredients. 


What does the lavender smoked malt bring to the table? In a well crafted cocktail, each ingredient should contribute to the overall flavor without being the main focus. The lavender smoked malt in Loretta is a perfect example of this. It adds the slightest hint of smoke, so little that it could easily be overlooked, but just enough that it rounds out the beer in a profound way.  

Can you give a little background on the name and concept of Loretta? This brew was loosely inspired by Loretta Lynne, the eponymous singer after which the Coal Miner’s Daughter cocktail is named. Our friends at Blackberry Farm came up for a visit, and during a trip to a local cocktail bar decided we needed to collaborate. We’d just been sent a sample of smoked lavender malt, which we loved, but couldn’t quite figure out a use for. At some point someone ordered a Coal Miner’s Daughter, and the blueprint for Loretta was already written. 


Are there any other cocktail-inspired sours that you really dig? I don’t usually include our own beer in this section, but I feel Marg Monday deserves a callout. Paloma Gose by Shlafly is excellent, as is Ballast Point’s Moscow Mule Ale.


What makes you want to drink this beer? This is one of the most unique beers I’ve ever tasted. Every component is identifiably there, but they’re all equally present and impressively complimentary. The symphony of flavors that plays across the palate draws your attention from start to finish and never misses a beat. 


Appearance: Gold with slight haze and minimal white foam

Aroma: Ginger, lemon, lavender, bourbon, and hints of honey


Taste: Sweetness, acidity, and bitterness are in perfect balance, allowing every ingredient to come through without becoming overpowering.


Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with slightly low carbonation


Overall: Loretta embodies all the best things about a Coal Miner’s Daughter cocktail: fresh ginger, lavender, lemon, and bourbon, while maintaining the lightness and drinkability of a beer.


What foods would pair well with Loretta? This beer would go great with some southern barbecue, like smoked brisket.


Ideal glassware for Loretta? A tulip, to trap aroma, is a must.