Archive for the category “Saison”

Mosaic Saison – Anchorage Brewing Company

mosiac-saison_bttl6.5% ABV
Purchased at Capitol Beer and Taproom ($14.99?/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This saison made with brettanomyces and “fermented in oak tanks” pours a pale, lemonade yellow with a fluffy, mid-sized ivory head.  Mosaic Saison offers a lovely nose that blends the funkiness of the farmhouse with the zest of a hop field – lemons, grapefruit peel, wild yeast, grass, and hay all show up, indicating tart and refreshing flavors ahead.  The first swallow is all that and more – with the barnyard funk, cracker-y Mosaic hops, and abundant but not overpowering citrus, it tastes like your favorite saison mixed with your favorite pale ale, with all of it cohered and given shape by the rich, oaky notes. Smooth, delicious, and complex, this outstanding beer has all the makings of a hot weather habit-former, and more than holds its own against beloved Anchorage staples like Bitter Monk.

  5 Toasts

 

 

   5 Toasts

 

Wrath: The Sinner Series – Amager Bryghus

AmagerSinnerWrath_bttl6.5% ABV
Purchased at Capitol Beer and Tap Room (16.9 oz. bottle) and poured into mini wine glasses.

This barrel-aged saison from Denmark brewery Amager pours an apple butter color with a thick white head, and a subtly smoky nose of burnt leaves, cigar ash, and wood. There were not any saison-like notes on the nose in my glass, and it was surprisingly bready and nearly quad-like on the first swallow, fading into dark fruit and caramel, with a woody bitterness in the finish.  Smokiness is generally a red flag for a saisons, and it seems fairly certain that this beer was infected, although it’s unclear at which phase the infection occurred.  During brewing?  During barreling?  During bottling?  Somewhere in transport?  In my fridge?  Whatever the case, the beer still remains pretty interesting and drinkable, with notes of brown sugar, apple, scorched wood, and a whiff of hard alcohol, with a finish of bitter kindling that is the only truly unpleasant part.  It should also be noted that although this beer was poured evenly between two small glasses, Darcey’s glass did not have that distinctly smoky nose or the woody finish.  Hers was more flowery on the nose, similar to chamomile tea, with a bit of a lemony flavor coming in at the finish.  I would rate my glass 2 ½ toasts and Darcey’s glass 3 ½ toasts, so I will split the difference at 3 toasts.

toasts-3   3 Toasts

Wrath

 

toasts-3   3 Toasts

Arctic Soiree – Grassroots Brewing and Anchorage Brewing Company

 

grassrootsanchorage_arctic_saison_bttl6% ABV, 12 degrees Plato
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($14.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This “ale fermented and aged in oak tanks with brettanomyces, lime juice and hibiscus” is another collaboration beer between Alaska-based Anchorage and Grassroots, a Vermont farmstead brewery.  Arctic Soiree pours a gorgeous, burnished color that is equal parts ruby red grapefruit flesh and ruddy apricot, with a mid-sized, bone white head.  It has a bright nose of barnyard must, brettanomyces, citrus juice, grapefruit, and oak tannins.  Sweet, candy-like citrus and white wine grapes push to the front on the first swallow, backed by tart and flowery notes courtesy of the lime juice and hibiscus.  Papaya, oak, aspirin tablets, cantaloupe, and other more rounded melon flavors emerge on later swallows.  This is a very refreshing and original beer, a worthy successor to last year’s Grassroots/Anchorage collaboration Arctic Saison, with none of the potentially offensive and discordant components over-asserting themselves.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

ArticSoiree

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Vieille Artisanal Saison – Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

vieille-bttl

4.2% ABV
Purchased at Capitol Beer and Tap Room (12.7 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This “artisanal saison aged in oak barrels” pours a clear, pale grapefruit juice yellow with a slight, bright white head.  It lovingly socks you with major farmhouse and tropical fruit aromas in front, and those are backed up in the nose by sour apple, hay, and earthy hops.  Well-rounded citrus dominates the first swallow, ending with a juicy finish of wet grass, mango, and lemon peel.  There is not much sourness here, just some citrus-y tartness, along with green apple, pineapple juice, dry crackers, and hops.  Vieille is one of the best beers I’ve had from Crooked Stave, a delicious and refreshing saison with a delicate touch on the palette.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Vieille-CrookedStave

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Fantomé Saison D’erizee – Printemps Edition

fantome_printemps_bttl8% ABV
Purchased at Trappist Provisions ($18/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This spring saison from legendary Belgian brewers Fantomé pours lemon drop yellow with a gorgeous, strobe-light white champagne head.  Bright countryside scents dominate the nose – wild flowers, sun-kissed hay, fresh citrus, and a little bit of barnyard swelter.  The first swallow is revelatory – light lemon bitterness, some honey, an incredibly crisp and pleasing mouthfeel, and then a sudden and unexpected assault of farmhouse spices.  Brewing spice flavors like coriander and spruce tips are augmented by unusual, cooking spice flavors like tarragon and parsley.  It’s a real dual-personality beer – part springtime refresher, part contemplative spice bomb – and remarkably successful on both fronts.

toasts-4.5    4.5 Toasts

Fantome

 toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

 

Jack D’Or – Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project

jackdor_bttl6.4% ABV
Purchased at BevMo in Elk Grove ($7.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into wine glasses.

This saison from Cambridge, Mass.-based Pretty Things pours a cloudy pineapple yellow with a fairly slight white head.  The nose gives off hay, copious grains, lemon and grapefruit citrus, and hardly any Belgian-style funk.  Jack D’Or is more grounded on the tongue, with the expected Belgian yeast flavors offset by an immense bill of grains and spicy hops.  Bananas and cloves dominate the front end, with more grains backing them up, and a piney-spicy bitterness on the aftertaste.  It’s a decent drink, but also a real mouthful for a mid-ABV saison, and certainly too heavy and aggressive to be called refreshing.

toasts-3   3 Toasts

JackDor

toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

Love Buzz Saison – Anchorage Brewing Company

9% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($13.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This barrel-aged saison from Anchorage Brewing Company pours a shiny peach with a decent-sized ivory head, and a nose that comes on strong straight out of the bottle.  Green grass, candied citrus, grapefruit zest, and sour grape smells come to the fore, and the aroma seems to promise a mouth-puckering sour.  However, it’s more citrus-y tart on the first swallow, although those flavors change shape multiple times on the finish.  Love Buzz Saison was aged in pinot noir oak barrels with brettanomyces, but the effect on the palette is closer to white wine.  Overall, my first impression of the beer was not particularly favorable, as an unpleasant raw grapefruit taste came to dominate the palette.  However, when I distributed the yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle between our two glasses, those flavors rounded out into more palatable peach and tangerine tastes.

 

    3 Toasts

 

   3.5 Toasts

Friendship Brew – Green Flash/Brasserie St-Feuillien – SoCal Taster

5.7% ABV
Purchased at the Green Flash Tasting Room ($4/13 oz. serving) and poured into tulip glasses.

This black saison was brewed in collaboration between San Diego County’s Green Flash and Belgian stalwart Brasserie St-Feuillien.  It pours a murky black with a tight, cola-colored head, and a lively nose of Belgian yeast, nutmeg, dried figs, and black olives.  Friendship Brew offers unique farmhouse flavors on the first swallow, tempered by savory spices but fairly devoid of barnyard funk.  The taste never quite gets sour, but there is a tantalizing, ever-present tang, while dusky spices confound the tongue and peppery yeast settles on the palette.  There is a rye-like structure and a surprisingly light mouthfeel to this dark farmhouse ale, but Friendship Brew is well-hopped enough to stay true to the Green Flash ethos while remaining a mysteriously pleasing beer. 

 

   4.5 Toasts

 

   4 Toasts

BRUX – Russian River/Sierra Nevada

8.3% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($15.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into flute glasses.

His Notes:

This collaboration between NorCal brewing legends Russian River and Sierra Nevada pours a burnished gold with a sizable off-white head.  The bottle describes Brux as a “domesticated wild ale”, and indeed it offers the expected barnyard funk aromas along with some citrus zest and tangerine.  It is spectacularly dry on the palette – the body is visibly similar to prosecco – with notes of citrus fruit, melon, and grass. There is some funk on the tongue, but the lasting impression is a dry, cracker-like bitterness offset by oranges, tangerines, and melon.   Brux has an interesting, fruit-forward complexity, with bready yeast flavors (and even a little saltiness) on the retreat, but the higher-than-average ABV makes it a little heavier than necessary.

  4 Toasts

Her Notes:

  4.5 Toasts

Seizoen Bretta – Logsdon Farmhouse Ales

8.0% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($11.49/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

His Notes:

Logsdon of Hood River, Oregon produces this saison, which pours a clear, bubbly platinum with a voluminous and persistent white head.  It offers an inviting tropical nose of guava, banana, green grass, and candy, but the first swallow offers more spice and depth of flavor than indicated by the aroma. There are tropical notes present, but they’re tempered and given complexity by that rustic spice flavor.  Farmhouse funk adds some tangy bite to the long and dusky finish, with pineapple also eventually entering the profile.  Seizoen Bretta is impressive on the palette but neutral enough to pair with a variety of dishes, offering lots of balanced complexity inside of a refreshing, summer-y farmhouse brew.

  4.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

  4.5 Toasts

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