Jun 20, 2011

Stillwater Cellar Door

When word of “gypsy brewer” Stillwater Artisianal Ales started spreading early last year, I made a note to be on the look out for it’s product line. Ever since I’ve been patiently waiting for it’s move south from Maryland into my area of Virginia. The one item from the company’s portfolio that I was specifically excited about was Cellar Door, an American version of a classic farmhouse ale that’s brewed with wheat and white sage among other tasty tidbits.

Well, it’s finally arrived. I picked up a pair of bottles earlier this month (sending one further south as a Father’s Day gift) and keeping one for myself which I cracked open a couple of weeks ago — ultimately challenging my own decision to share the other bottle. As far as farmhouse ales go, Stillwater has something going with Cellar Door. It’s a not-too-funky version of the style with a more pronounced hop presence (thanks to Sterling and Citra hops), but the white sage used late in the brewing process, really makes this beer a little something special.

Stillwater Cellar Door photo
Sitting outside with a tasty brew.


Hazy golden amber in color, Cellar Door sits with a resilient, white cap. There’s a good deal of carbonation activity within the glass.


For a farmhouse ale, it doesn’t quite carry the familiar barnyard, wet blanket funk that I’ve found in more traditional varieties, but it’s got quite an interesting nose nonetheless. Wafts of tangerine, grass, wheat, herbs, pepper and a light yeasty presence all come together nicely.


You definitely get the American influence in this beer. It’s much more hop forward than any other Belgian/French farmhouse ale I’ve enjoyed. That’s not to say it’s on the same levels of an IPA — it’s not — but the grassy and tangerine citrus character of the Sterling and Citra hops certainly make their presence known. Before the hops arrive on the palate, however, there’s delicate wheat and herbal notes that greet your on each sip before transitioning to the hoppier characteristics. The mouthfeel is crisp on the tongue and refreshing as a peppery yeast gives it a little snap in the finish. I didn’t pick up much of a barnyard funk, but there’s a touch of it within this uniquely flavored beer.


While this isn’t your traditional farmhouse ale, it’s hop presence and the use of the white sage really made for an excellent beer that was flavorful and refreshing on such a warm day. I was super stoked to see this one on shelves and now, after having tried it, even more excited that it’s made it my way. Of course, that’s all tempered by the fact that I haven’t seen it on shelves since, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it in the future.

Rating: 4/5

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