Jester King Bière De Miel (Thanks, Ian!). A 4 of 4. Lots of bright honey and fruity notes in the nose, as well as a duller yeasty presence. Not incredibly sweet, though - the body has some great spice and earthiness. There’s a faint sourness to the malt - not the most funky thing ever, but there’s some great yeast-driven notes here. The honey helps keep this quite bright up front, yet this finishes quite dry. Simply great.
Ecliptic’s new seasonal beer has a misleading name. Aurora, while quite beautiful to look at, is far from crimson. Aurora is a saison brewed with farmhouse yeast and rhubarb. The stalks may add a pinkish hue to the copper beer, but rhubarb adds little flavor. The Belgian yeast throws off plenty of spicy phenols; the malt is round; and the body is dry. The rhubarb just seems to add to the tart finish and a mid palate hint of vegetation. Aurora is a valiant effort, tasty, but not all I wished it to be.
Stone decided to join the Farmhouse bandwagon with this new Saison, available Spring through Summer. Some additional ingredients were added to the brew, including lemon peel, lemon thyme, and lavender grown at Stone Gardens. Aromas carry that distinct floral nature of Belgian yeast, then push even further into herbal notes provided by the lemon thyme and lavender. Malts smell freshly ground with a bready character. Hops bring a pronounced impact from the lemon peel, held above grassy undertones. Further interest comes in a hint of mango, ginger, and black pepper.
The palate starts out with a quick honey sweetness, then grows sour as bright citrus highlights give an impression of orange oil and lemon verbena. Further fruitiness tastes like apple and white grape. As hops begin to fill the middle register, herbal elements emerge as sage, thyme, and grass. Bitterness steps on the back, releasing some IPA qualities in the form of rosemary, pine needles, and grapefruit peel. A sharp bite of black pepper marks the climax, then bready malts finally say goodbye. The mouthfeel is lively with effervescent carbonation, reaching a crisp peak that leaves dry. A decent amount of residual hop oils are left clinging.
Their approach is undeniably West Coast, but there are at least some connections to the source. This is just a little too hoppy for a Saison, so it comes across more like a spiced-up Belgian IPA. In terms of flavor, malts provide consistent support until the end. I appreciate how the sweetness is proportionate to bitterness, then sourness outshines all the rest. It’s a fusion with some interesting novelty. I might try it once again, because it does taste pretty good, but I’m not impressed.
Adventures in (tasting other peoples) homebrew: Part two
Just look at how pretty those beers are, srsly peeps, ain’t they beautiful? The Most Awesome Jon (his official title no less) at brewshack sent me a bottle of each of his three varieties of recent fruit saisons, and last weekend I oiled up and got stuck in.
From top to bottom there’s blackberry, pear, and raspberry, and all were full of fruity, yeasty, goodness, with the raspberry saison the showstopper thanks to huge juicy and tart raspberry flavours, a nice yeastiness, and a lingering dryness. Just lovely. And really rather pretty.
This Saison should be available year-round in 22 oz. bombers. Aromas are predominantly fruity with a resemblance to pear, apricot, orange, and white wine. Yeast give hints of spice, such as clove and coriander, along with just the right amount of Belgian funk. The sweetness comes across as a confectioners sugar wafer.
The palate starts out a tad sour with a flavor akin to lemonade, then shifts more toward orange as sweetness descends. A vast body of fruit bursts through with evident suggestions of pear, peach, and banana. The yeast promotes a particular character of spice that accumulates on the back-end, which like the nose, centers around clove and coriander. Hops give an impression of earth and grass, then a final flavor similar to white grape juice emerges for the aftertaste. Alcohol provides some inviting esters, which actually contribute to some of the fruity flavors, but also bring along an edge of warmth that muddles up the crispness I expect from this style. The mouthfeel is generally quite creamy with lively carbonation over a medium-full body that dries slightly as the finish approaches.
In terms of style, the malt weight is above-average, and the alcohol comes through with clarity despite being a lowly 7.4%. I’m not necessarily bothered by either, but both qualities make this stylistically uncharacteristic. In terms of flavor, the sour element balances perfectly to the sweetness, and frail bitterness upholds support from below. I feel this has just the right amount of fruit to complement a proportional degree of spice. All in all, it’s been a unique, enjoyable drink, but this doesn’t embody the style in its most classical distinction. Instead, I find a complex rendition with a surprising amount of depth. Thanks for the trade, Kirby! I recommend it to those who prefer Belgians.
John Harris at Ecliptic just can’t say no to a collaboration beer. The latest is a saison brewed with Dogfish Head. It started back when Sam Calagione sold John Harris his brewhouse. Sagittarius B2N is named for the massive cloud in the center of the Milky Way galaxy which can form complex molecules like ethanol. Yep, space booze.
This beer pours surprisingly clear. You’d think a saison named for a cosmic cloud would be, you know, cloudier. B2N is fluffy and full. It was brewed with grapefruit, lemon, and hibiscus, which leads to a nice floral citrus and herb flavor, but the yeast dominate this beer. It’s a very French yeast. It makes me want to eat rosemary crusted goat cheese and long skinny bread.
Brewery : The Bruery Beer : Saison Rue Style : Saison / Farmhouse Ale Variance : Brewed with Rye and Brettanomyces
8.5 / 10
Have I ever told you that I love The Bruery? No? Well I fucking love The Bruery. Honestly if it wasn’t for the fact that I have to re-mortgage my house to be able to afford some of their beers, I’d probably drink them everyday. This beer has a great initial sweetness with those classic Old McDonald flavors (not those shitty burgers) but the brett adds a slight funk to this that is a welcome change up to the standard style. The sweetness is the most forefront flavor here like a Nicholas Sparks book but every once and a while you just need to treat your sweet tooth to a hot kiss in the rain (why do I know that movie so well?). Ok, so at this point you should have left your house already to grab a bottle of this but for some reason you are still reading so… Highly recommended to saison lovers and a great entry to those virgins out there. Not the best from The Bruery but a delicious brew none the less.