As we do at the start of every season, the Aleheads posed a very simple question the other day – What’s your favorite style of beer for the Spring? It seems like a simple enough question and something that was easy enough for me to answer, but I can understand why the responses were so varied. Many of us don’t care about seasons and just drink what we like whenever we damn well please (Hi Barley, how’s that Imperial Stout treating you in 80 degree Birmingham?). Others drink every style of beer imaginable and just grab whatever they’re feeling at the time. I have no problem with any approach you take, but since I live in New England everything I do revolves around the weather and the changing of the seasons. For example, it snowed last week, it was 30 degrees this morning and will hit 50 this afternoon, and it should hit 75 on Monday. It will probably snow next Tuesday. With that, I drink beer that’s “Appropriate” for the season for the simple reason that I can trick myself into believing that the season truly has changed. Well fellow readers, you picked Saison as your favorite style for Spring and I can’t argue with that choice at all. Even if it’s blustery cold with nary a flower peaking up through the ground, when I’m drinking Saison I know that Spring is in the air. Time to review a 4 hop beer (Come on, click the “Read More” link, you’re already here).
Many directions to go with Saison and there’s plenty of great one’s out there. I talked a little about Saisons in my “Beer of The Day” series with and The Bruery’s 7 Grain Saison for Wednesday, Day of Mercury, God of Trade (And the grain trade). Earthy, spicy, a bit tart in the finish – There’s not a damn thing in a Saison that shouldn’t be appreciated by every good beer drinker out there. OK, that’s a stretch, but they’re tasty and I think everyone should give Saison a chance. I’ve mentioned in the past that my favorite beer in the style is Saison Dupont, since it’s the classic and the beer that every other Saison is compared to, but I figure I’ll throw a tasting out there for a beer that’s the 1A to Dupont’s #1 status.
NOTES: 750ml corker, now sitting at home watching the Sox start the season 0-5 (Oh wait, now they’re 0-6, what the fuck)
APPEARANCE: Light straw color, touch of orange, quite cloudy. Saisons and Biere de Gardes might have the most boring appearance of any beers out there.
HEAD: Fantôme will never disspoint with a gushing, frothy pour (That goes for all of their beers). While the head dissipates quickly, I’m always impressed with the initial yeast specked cloud atop the glass
LACING: A good thin ring is left around the glass after every giant gulp (You gulp Saisons, of course)
NOSE: One of the most fruit-forward Saisons I’ve ever come across. Green apple, apricot – Lots of puckering unripened fruit. Little bit of lemon, little bit of funk. Barnyard yeastiness rounds out the nose
TASTE: Sour apple, kind of a funky tart taste up front. Lots of fruit, lots of citrus, not a damn hop to be found anywhere. It just tastes like Spring. Overall, I’ll go with tangy – That about sums it up
MOUTHFEEL: Generally a medium mouthfeel, but the ample carbonation gives off a light finish. Thick yet light? I have no idea, it’s just refreshing but has plenty of substance
DRINKABILITY: Drinkability of most Saisons is pretty subjective. For me they’re absurdly drinkable and I could toss em’ back all day, but I can understand that many people will stop after just a glass. They can be pretty funky and pretty dry. The Fantôme though is just perfect. I want more and I want it right now
RATING: 4 Hops.