A beer crafted in a collaboration between Pompano Beach's Odd Breed Wild Ales and Dania Beach-based 3 Sons Brewing Co. took home a top prize from the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) this year.
Dubbed "Loup et Renard," the beer is inspired by Belgian saison and was entered into the mixed-culture Brett beer category, winning a coveted gold medal from the globally recognized festival.
The category had 59 entries at the 2023 GABF competition, with winners announced September 23 in Denver. The collaboration's gold medal is one of just two earned by Sunshine State brewers this year, the other awarded to Corporate Ladder Brewing Co. in Palmetto, which received the recognition for its "Board Meeting" beer in the dessert stout or pastry stout category in collaboration with Bottle Logic Brewing in Anaheim, California.
While the GABF acknowledged only one brewery as the gold medal winner, the idea behind the beer came from the minds of Odd Breed brewer/owner Matt Manthe and 3 Sons' Corey Artanis. The collaboration came about in early 2021 after Artanis reached out to Manthe, offering the use of his Dania Beach brewhouse to produce the beer, while Manthe provided the oak barrels and aging know-how. Dustin Jeffers, a 3 Sons team member and cofounder of Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, was also involved in the collaboration.
"I appreciated that [3 Sons] wanted to lean me for making a saison, which they've never made before," Manthe told New Times.
For Artanis, the gold medal was well-deserved and a result of Manthe's magic touch on their collaboration brew. "It's a testament to what he does," says Artanis. "I think he's making some of the best beers in the United States."
Since 1982, brewers and zythophiles across the country have gathered for the GABF in Denver to celebrate beer and the U.S. brewing industry. Winning a gold medal — or any medal — at the GABF is considered an honor. The handful of Florida breweries that took home medals this year include Lake Worth's Mathews Brewing Co., which won bronze for White Goblin, a Belgian-style witbier.
It's Manthe's second GABF gold medal. The first was awarded in 2021 for his "Oddities and Outliers Blend 2," also in the mixed-culture Brett category. He also took home two GABF bronze medals in 2022.
Manthe regularly uses the Brettanomyces yeast and the Pediococcus bacteria in his beers, which are then aged for long periods in oak barrels. Walk into his Pompano Beach taproom, and you'll see barrels stacked from floor to ceiling along the entire wall. The barrels are used for long periods because the culture is slow-working, and the barrels allow in small amounts of oxygen, creating an ideal environment for the bacteria to grow, shares Manthe.
Odd Breed opened its taproom in November 2017, while 3 Sons opened in Dania Beach more than a year later in 2019. Both are located in Broward County, and each has become highly regarded for their beers. In addition, the word has slowly gotten out that 3 Sons is also a Buffalo Bills fan hangout. This type of notoriety is something Artanis is particularly proud of, given that he is a Buffalo native.
When Artanis reached out to Manthe for the collaboration, Manthe offered a series of saisons to sample for inspiration. The duo ultimately settled on Saison D'epeautre from Brasserie de Blaugies, a beer made with spelt, a type of grain that Manthe described as tasting like "wheat on steroids" and contains a higher protein content that gives the beer a heavier-mouth feel.
The collaboration came in two parts, beginning with the non-barrel aged saison released by 3 Sons called "Wolf and Fox," a name inspired by the hops varieties used — Styrian Wolf and Styrian Fox. The beer was packaged in cans and sold at the Dania Beach brewery.
The clean version is also what Manthe placed in his French oak barrels, aging it up to a year at the Pompano Beach taproom. When it was ready, Manthe bottled the beer and named it "Loup et Renard" — French for "wolf and fox" — weighing in at 6.8 percent alcohol by volume. Although the beer is no longer available for purchase, Manthe plans on opening some bottles at his taproom's upcoming November 11 anniversary party.
Wild ales aren't the only beers at Odd Breed. Manthe has a list of 110 different brews, many of which are not wild ales. But those are the types of beers that let out Manthe's wild, creative side. The complexity of those beers allows for more possibilities and more flavors, Manthe says.
Manthe adds that he loves the process of making beer. "If not the same as before, then more than ever. The more you learn about the same thing, the more questions you have. And the more fun beers to make are the ones I don't know how they'll turn out."