What do you do when you win big? Get to poppin’ the bottles! That’s at least what I did recently to celebrate Perrin Brewing Co out of Comstock Park, MI bringing home a Bronze Medal at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival for their 2020 No Rules Vietnamese Porter.
Since its inception in 2015, No Rules has been a favorite beer of mine to pick up during its spring release each year. I’ve enjoyed splitting bottles with friends at various bottle shares. It is one-of-a-kind and is in a league of its own. I have to say, though, I’m usually not one to drink my No Rules bottles in the same year they are released AND have a bottle all to myself, but this is 2020 and crazier things have happened.
When it came to the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), No Rules had to follow a few rules and it fell into the Field Beer Category. What exactly does the Field Beer Category entail? According to the GABF, “Field beers are any beers incorporating vegetables as flavor or carbohydrate adjuncts in either the mash, kettle, primary or secondary fermentation. The vegetable character should be in harmony with other attributes and can range from subtle to intense. Within the framework of these guidelines, coconut is defined as a vegetable, and beers containing coconut should should be entered as Field Beers.” That last line is the rule that makes No Rules a Field Beer. I looked at other categories that No Rules could fit into like “Specialty Beers” and “Aged Beers” and each one referred to a beer with coconut having to be placed in the “Field Beer” category.
For the 2020 GABF Field Beer Category, Perrin was up against 106 other field beers and as one could predict from the description of the Field Beer Category, the field was eclectic. Gold went to Urban South Brewery’s Lime Cucumber Gose. The Silver Medal went to Dry Dock Brewing Co’s Coconut Bligh’s Barleywine. Third place, as we know, went to the 15% Vietnamese Porter.
I reached out to Perrin Brewing Co about what the brew is all about and their new head brewer Eric Plata (formerly of DeHops Brewing Company and Café) reported back that No Rules “is truly a team effort in every sense of the phrase. From our brewers making a perfectly balanced wort to our cellarmen adjuncting and moving that wort into barrels to our packaging team making sure that beer will pour perfectly into your glass. Collectively we curate barrels once they are fully aged to create the final product. Then there is a discussion about the direction of each barrel and how they will be used to create the final beer. With No Rules winning a Bronze at this year’s Great American Beer Festival, it showed that the team’s long hours and hard work paid off. No Rules is a beer we are all proud of! When enjoying a bottle, expect notes of vanilla, coconut, cinnamon, and chocolate that is kissed by barrel character that warms and brings you back for another sip. Cheers!”
WOW! Once I read through Eric’s notes and had a bottle of No Rules in my hands, it was time to see how the 2020 bottle measured up with my taste buds and palate. I already knew that the beer wowed judges, so my expectations were fairly high.
No Rules turned out to be extremely dark and smooth both on the nose and with every sip. The sugary notes of vanilla, coconut, and chocolate were delectable and blended well with the oaky bourbon barrel. Perrin is the creator of the Vietnamese Porter style, so they are setting the precedent when it comes to the style. The 15% ABV porter was surprisingly light with all of the flavor notes that Eric mentioned in his brewer’s notes shining through. No Rules did not punch me in the mouth with booziness that other heavy barrel-aged beers are known to do. I’m not suggesting that you count out the high alcohol by volume because it caught up to me as I enjoyed the bottle in one sitting.
Congratulations, Perrin Brewing Co, for taking home the bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival in the Field Beer Category with the 2020 version of No Rules! I’m looking forward to the 2021 version of this beer!
Disclaimer: Thank you to Eric Plata and Connor Klopcic for the complimentary bottle of No Rules 2020 to review.