Category Archives: Saisons/Farmhouse Ale

One Drop Brewing ‘5 Brett’ Saison


87273474_1310917115759097_8601730096908206080_o“5 Brett Saison, based on our popular house saison, is a mixed 7 grain base with a melange of additions including pink peppercorns, mandarin peel, cardamom and Tasmanian pepper berries, then bottle conditioned with 5 variants of Brettanomyces, wild strains that impart offbeat qualities like barnyard funk, tropical fruit, and earthy pepper.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Pale golden amber with two fingers of rocky white foam on top. It slowly reduces with thick blotchy lace in patches.

Aroma: Heady notes of Angostura bitters, citrus rind, candied lemon and lime, mature chardonnay and barnyard funk. Kind of smells a bit like an old fashioned. Definitely picking up some cracked pepper, sour cola lollies, herbal spice (aniseed, basil and curry leaf). Theres something quite tangy happening here but just can’t put our finger on it.

Flavour: Changes fairly dramatically. Very dry and musty, strong on the barnyard funk and herbal spice – aniseed and peppery basil. Pithy grapefruit and citrus rind bitterness midway moving in to a rather strident finish with lingering pepper and rind on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Dry and a little astringent. The 8.2% ABV certainly adds another layer of warmth. Mild-moderate body with a slightly lifted Co2.

Overall: Love the edgy-ness of the beer – 5 different strains of brettanomyces, spice adjuncts over an already complex style…then boosted up by a mammoth 8.2% ABV. The texture and aggression would be our only criticism. Other than that it’s an impressive drop.

Crooked Stave ‘Vieille’ BA Saison


53701910_1054120004772144_1295575871226118144_n“Translated from French as “old-tradition”, Vieille is our barrel-aged classical saison. Using time-honored techniques, our saisons employ traditional methods to restore complexity and the rustic character lost in modern day saison. Saisons were the original wild ales, brewed for the farmhands to be a refreshing and sustaining beverage.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Hazy pale straw colour with two fingers of light puffy foam perched on top. Slow reduction settling to a fine overlay with spotty lace as we go.

Aroma: Classic Saison notes of wheat grains, straw, florals, leafy herbs, dry musty farmyard, oak, delicate citrus and peppery spice. There’s a subtle brett character but it’s more about the estery Belgian yeast than the funky wilds. Very pleasant nose…and very traditional.

Flavour: Tasting a bit more funk now. Super mild brett sourness on entry alongside tangy lemon, straw and herbal hops. Subtle orange peel, spice and peach through the mid and leading in to a dry and musty finish. Maybe a flutter of lime on the rear but it’s pretty restrained.

Mouthfeel: Light on, effervescent texture. We were surprised to see the low AbV (4.2%) but then again that plays right in to the beers traditional nature.

Overall: We must give credit where it’s due – they’ve crammed a tonne of flavour and aromatics in while keeping the AbV low. It’s a tidy, well balanced and well structured offering.

Perennial Artisan Ales ‘Saison De Lis’ Chamomile-infused Saison


48423410_1010008232516655_2458623259449491456_n“A straw colored Belgian-style Saison brewed with chamomile flowers. It is fermented with a traditional saison yeast strain that imparts fruity and spicy notes that dovetail perfectly with the tea-like quality of the chamomile. Finishes dry, tart, and refreshing.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Straw gold with a frothy three finger head which persists. It leaves a mess on the glass as we indulge.

Aroma: Funky and floral perfumes initially. Tonnes of yeast esters and spice, candied citrus, banana runts, coriander, farmyard and wheat grains making up the bulk of it. The chamomile comes through in a herbal and sweet fruity kind of way, it’s a nice touch we’d admit this is the first time we’ve ever seen a chamomile-infused beer.

Flavour: The level of Co2 took us back a bit. Once that tapers off it delivers strong witbier-esque yeast esters, wheat grains and herbaceous chamomile. Getting just a flutter of black peppercorn and other earthy adjuncts rolling in to a semi-dry, spicy and yeasty finish which has legs.

Mouthfeel: Super fizzy…the Co2 could do with some scaling back actually. Fairly light on, mineraly and somewhat gassy texture. Only 5% AbV which was surprising.

Overall: This is our 2nd crack at Perennial’s range. It’s fair to say we had high expectations coming off our review of Abraxas. Although it didn’t wow us it was a decent little number…a solid summer quaffer.

Dollar Bill Brewing 2018 ‘Spring Parlay’ Farmhouse Ale


45805353_980392615478217_8420374870906372096_n“Sour blueberry and apple farmhouse ale. Lightly sour. A little bit funky with hints of blueberries and apple cider. Welcome to spring!!!”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Candy apple red with soft pink hues when held to the light. A 1cm head forms on top and works a fine lace down the sides of the glass.

Aroma: We get sour apple, cider, mild vinegar and citric lemon juice along with more subtle notes of candied fruits, red grapes and barnyard funk. Just a hint of the tart blueberries showing up late. It’s a crisp and refreshing nose, really lovely stuff.

Flavour: We’re tasting a kind of dry and spicy cider note upfront. There’s a healthy little acetic sourness pairing up with pink lady apples, angostura bitters, red grapes, blueberry and a delicate vinous accent. More of a dry musty-ness around the mid leading to a bone dry finish with dried apple, white pepper and yeasty esters for days.

Mouthfeel: Dry and lightly sour – more textural though. Perfectly carbonated with the 6.9% AbV neatly tucked away.

Overall: That’s a cracking Aussie sour, just enough to edge out the autumn parlay in our opinion. For such a small and relatively unknown brewery these guys are producing some quality offerings. Keep em comin!

Wayward Brewing ‘Ripasso’ BA Farmhouse Ale


44823564_971834399667372_8351652460707708928_n“Ripasso is a technique where red wine is re-fermented on grape skins to give it added depth and intensity. We’ve applied this concept to a classic Belgian ale, fermenting it on shiraz skins from our friends at Tyrrel’s wines. We then aged it in shiraz barrels with a wild yeast blend for 6 months, further adding to its texture and complexity.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Very interesting…it pours a bold crimson colour which reveal pink hues when held to the light. The short head collapsed to the rim but managed a wet lace drag down the glass.

Aroma: Beautiful candied berries, vinous grape juice, complex oak tannins and delicate barnyard funk making up the bulk of it. Kind of reminds us of opening up a fresh bag of Allen’s ripe raspberries. It’s fantastic we just can’t get enough of it!

Flavour: No where near as funky as we had anticipated, it’s almost a bit of an anticlimax. Upfront there’s a neat little fusion of grape juice, cherry and very mild barnyard funk which moves in to a more tannic mid palate. The finish is mild, fruit-forward and slightly vinous with reasonable length.

Mouthfeel: Light on, quite frothy with lifted co2. Mild-medium body. 5% AbV – neither here nor there.

Overall: We love the incentive and creativity of this beer and for the most part the execution was on point. Personally we’d have loved to see more vigour, maybe a bit more funk and more barrel flavour. But hey for 5% AbV they’ve done quite a good job. Not bad.

SARA & Side Project ‘Sante Matrices’ Barrel Aged Saison


43661845_964817397035739_8351031301062524928_n“Side Project’s Cory King and the brewers here at SARA chose several strains from East Coast Yeast, in addition to both breweries respective house cultures, and elected to ferment individual barrels with each, with the ultimate goal of blending the entirety into a final, mature, bottle conditioned Saison. The result is wonderfully complex and the perfect illustration of the shared philosophy between both us and Side Project.”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: Straw gold with a faint haze. It doesn’t really produce much head with it retreating to the rim but weaving a fine lace as it ebbs.

Aroma: There’s definitely a sour aspect to it albeit subtle. Picking up soft Belgian yeast tones along with straw, barnyard, candied lemon, banana runts and a somewhat chalky vanilla (from the barrels perhaps?). Also displaying traits of a Belgian tripel with its hint of apple and a kind of dry malt base…becoming a bit wheaty and grainy over time. Quite a complex number.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose – a nicely balanced ratio of sourness to sweetness with undertones of yeasty spice and pear/apple at its core. Straw, farmyard grains, candied lemon and subtle oak character roll through the mid and finish with an interesting set of flavors including white grape juice, herbs and rosewater.

Mouthfeel: Fairly crisp, zippy and moderately bodied. There’s a nicely lifted co2 while the 6.3% AbV nestles in comfortably.

Overall: Very interesting. It’s certainly not short on character it’s like a saison, a sour, a tripel and a farmhouse ale all rolled in to one. We already knew SARA were masters and we expected as much from Side Project. They both delivered here!

Sante Adairius Rustic Ales ‘Saison Bernice’


42233077_955249607992518_6345832175752970240_n“Exquisite in form, Saison Bernice is the centerpiece of our brewery and the purest expression of both our brewing philosophy and our house culture. Lovingly made from the finest ingredients available, Bernice is beautifully tart with a soft and inviting mouthfeel. Long, slow aging in stainless tanks coaxes out flavors and aromatics of ripe citrus and just-picked stonefruit. Simple but graceful, Bernice is the beer we’d pour you ourselves if given the chance.”

Glassware: Stemmed Tulip.

Appearance: Slightly hazy honey colour with a two finger head resting atop. It gradually reduced to a wispy overlay with a tonne of lace sticking to the glass.

Aroma: Nice and punchy. Plenty of fresh zesty citrus, florals, peppery spice, coriander and tart lemon funk leading out. There’s a lovely yeast profile with a good helping of phenols and unripened banana which melds in to the somewhat doughy/bready malt backdrop. Just the mildest hint of sourness to it which is really well tempered and allows the rest of the aromas to shine. Brilliant.

Flavour: We’re getting a light acetic citrus upfront, more of a textural sourness with a delicious line of candied lemon cutting through. The middle is also nice and fruity with more of a peachy accent which moves in to mild farmhouse spices, bretty funk and eventually to a slightly musty finish with overarching citrus notes.

Mouthfeel: Aerated and mineraly with sparkling carbonation. Mild acidity and a well concealed 6.5% AbV.

Overall: One of the things we really enjoyed about this was the balance. The brewers certainly flirted with the sourness but at its core it’s just an incredibly well brewed saison. This is our first crack at SARA and we’re very impressed. Superb.

Boatrocker Brewing ‘Sultana Of Saison’ BA Saison


29177931_826728300844650_6396312141858603008_n“Sultana of Saison is our Saison du Bateau fermented in fortified riesling barrels. The classic ester profile is complemented by delicious fruity aromas and flavours.
Unfiltered and bottle conditioned. Serve cool not cold.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Murky orange with a healthy two finger head atop. Good retention and lots of lace clinging to the glass.

Aroma: We’re getting slightly funky esters, floral perfumes, banana runts, tangy citrus, pear and cereal grains initially. Not detecting a great deal of the Riesling characters although there is a delicate hint of white grapes and sour apples. Fairly traditional nose here.

Flavour: Picking up more of the Riesling notes on the palate. Lots of pear/apple, peach, some banana developing later on in the piece. Quite musty as well, getting some woody spice, cereal grains and oak with herbs and tangy citrus in the finish.

Mouthfeel: The texture is mineraly and somewhat spritzy. The body sits around that medium mark with the 6.4% ABV reasonably well hidden.

Overall: Nothing overly exciting but it is a tidy little offering. Would have liked to see more of an impact from the time spent in Riesling barrels but other than that it’s a fairly decent saison.

La Sirene ‘Fleur Folie’ Saison


27332490_806295916221222_7979017734857601296_n“Fleur Folie (literally meaning blossom madness) is styled along a classic Saison Miel and on opening a bottle overwhelms you with fresh aromas of Wild Honey Flowers, pepper and spice. This beer is deep gold in colour with an orange hue and has a soft malt backbone, layered complexity and sweet malt tones which are rounded off with a dry prickly finish. The classic Belgian yeast imparts a kiss of tartness and orange blossom tones including a textured mid-palate with a lingering hop earthiness and lively effervescence to finish. We hope you enjoy our Folie as much as we do.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Cloudy off yellow colour with an enormous three and a half finger head on top. Slow and steady reduction with thick, patchy lace strewn down the glass.

Aroma: Really interesting, lots of depth and layering. We’re picking up tart lemons, sulphur, angostura bitters, florals, peppery spice and lemon sherbet. Some earthy tones but it’s nicely countered by a mild honey sweetness. Just a hint of yeast which imparts those banana, clove and funky barnyard notes. Lovely.

Flavour: Not as convincing as the nose, all the beautiful aromas don’t seem to follow through to the palate. It’s mostly dry and musty with light acidic and tart citrus out in front. Champagne yeast, some citric hop bitterness and peppery spice on the close. Nice endurance on the rear though.

Mouth feel: Dry, musty but also quite vibrant and effervescent. Highly carbonated. Fairly light body with a well tempered 6% ABV.

Overall: Some good points and some not so good. We still don’t understand why some brewers persist with the green bottles? With the risk of being light-struck and all. Lovely aromas but unfortunately that didn’t translate to flavour. We’ve had better from La Sirene.

Dieu Du Ciel! ‘Isseki Nicho’ Imperial Dark Saison


image“This very unique beer was born in 2009 from a special collaboration between Dieu du Ciel! and Shiga Kougen, a brewery from Nagano, Japan. Black in color, it is an hybrid between an Imperial Stout and a Belgian Saison. It presents predominant bitterness and roasted malt flavours, balanced by strong alcohol content. The finale is dry, complex and spicy, a typical signature given by Saison yeasts.”

Served in a goblet. Practically impenetrable black pour with a finger of loosely packed tan foam assembling on top. Rapid reduction, eventually forming a fine ring that laced surprisingly well.
Geez this is one seriously complex aroma here. At its base it is super malty, we pick up licorice, dark fruits, subtle whiskey, jaffa and black tea with this left field orange citrus and piney hop character cutting through. WTF?! At this point we double checked what we were drinking. Yep, still an imperial dark saison.
The mouth feel is rich, sharp, boozy (9.5%), bitter and somehow drying in the finish. We can visualize the brewers saying “hey, let’s brew something with almost every possible texture in one!”
How do we convey this maze of flavours to you. Again, it initiates with an explosion of dark spicy malts where licorice, jaffa, toast and cocoa are overtaken by earthy coffee, black tea and an unusual hoppy dryness midway. It all seems to soften a little before it finishes dry, roasty and spicy with a lingering warmth in the tail.
We have more questions than we have descriptions right now. What an outrageous but wonderfully intricate beer. We can see the “imperial” and we can see the “dark” but where the hell does the “saison” fit in? Right now we have stout, porter, quadrupel, black IPA and everything in between. Trust Dieu Di Ciel to offer this amazing drop!

La Sirene ‘Urban Pale’ Farmhouse Pale Ale


18582089_695599200624228_5332760669833587921_n“The Urban Pale is a hop-driven juicy Farmhouse Pale Ale made in our Urban Farmhouse Brewery. Expect grapefruit & pine-cone characters with an assertive bitterness that is enveloped seamlessly with melon, black pepper and citrus rind.”

Served in a shaker glass. The Urban Pale offers a rich golden hue with a faint haze. It constructs a thumb of foamy head which slowly peels back, leaving a thick and soapy lace sticking to the glass.
We’re getting quite a citrus-forward aroma that possesses a slightly tart undertone. The technicality over whether this is classed as a pale ale or a saison is probably a hot topic but there’s no surprises that this beer has farmhouse qualities (La Sirene specialise in saison) with its floral pot pourri and spicy black pepper notes getting amongst the litany of other scents like angostura bitters, crusty bread, candied lemons and straw. Lovely stuff.
Pretty smooth palate. There’s a short and sharp injection of hop bitterness mid way that lays down for a nice crisp finish. Mild-medium body with spritzy Co2.
The flavour follows on from the nose with a healthy display of tart citrus such as grapefruit, orange rind and candied lemons. Certainly some funky yeast characters in the mix, introducing the farmhouse element with the spicy phenols and earthy barnyard grains. Refreshing and somewhat grassy in the tail.
This one would surely get the convo flowing between mates at a craft beer bar that’s for sure. On its merits it’s a fairly decent drop with its dominant yeasty funk mixed with the fruity citrus of a pale ale. The result = a fine offering.

Boatrocker Brewing Co ‘Saison du Bateau’ Saison


17952510_680292878821527_6695227122620903019_n“This is Saison du Bateau, a pretty straightforward take on the French / Belgian farmhouse style that’s on fairly wide release, the other Gaston that you’ll find elsewhere on the site. Du Bateau is a pale golden, slightly hazy affair that offers up an array of pilsner malt sweetness, some citrus aromas and plenty of spicy characters from the yeast – both of the peppery and clove varieties – before finishing with a prickly dryness. Or, as the brewery puts it: “A line and length saison”.

Served in a beer tulip. Hazy, light amber body that’s capped off with a healthy three finger head. It steadily reduced eventually establishing a rocky overlay that deposits a thick, soapy lace down the walls of the glass.
Nice dry, yeasty aroma with minimal funk and plenty of uplift from the citric acidity. We’re getting a good impression of yeasty/spicy phenols that are somewhat medicinal in its delivery. Banana runts, peach and subtle hints of pear and pepper also get a look in. All in all a very traditional and highly aromatic nose.
Quite light on and fizzy in texture with elevated Co2 and a mild drying bitterness (30 IBU). Very well hidden alcohol content (6.4%) we must say. Mild-medium body. A pleasant little quaffer so far.
Delicious blend of bubblegum, spice and fruit esters upfront. A touch of that barnyard funk/horse blanket is introduced midway. It progresses with mild citrus and angostura bitters before it finishes on a crisp, fruity note with good length in the tail.
Immensely enjoyable saison here. Nothing too outlandish, just hitting the right notes all the way through. Loving the crisp and refreshing feel of the beer, certainly opens itself up to be a solid summer quencher. One we could surely return to.

Hawkers Beer Saison


17798944_671346569716158_7669213768707755008_n“Refreshing, effervescent, cloudy-golden and complex, this is our take on the traditional Wallonian Saison.”

Served in a beer tulip. Super hazy straw yellow with a rocky two finger cap over the top. The head retains quite well and weaves a fine lace down the walls of the glass.
Gorgeous and classic saison aroma. Bursting with all that yeasty sweetness, pepper, herbs, banana and clove. Getting a faint hint of tart lemons but it’s more ripe and juicy with suggestions of angostura bitters and white grapes. Bubblegum, barnyard and a watermelon-like scent also begin to creep in as it settles. A very well executed aroma. Superb, even.
Nice and frothy in the mouth, partly due to the elevated Co2. Very mild acidity and only 5.6% ABV so it’s incredibly approachable. Mild-medium body.
The taste follows the nose with just the slightest bit of tartness coming through on the front palate. Pleasantly countered by this estery sweetness that offers candied fruits, bubblegum and earthy spice. Some herbal hop notes flanking the somewhat wheaty notes through the mid as it signs off on a grainy and slightly sweet malty finish. Fairly good endurance on the rear.
Another very well structured beer from Hawkers. As we’ve mentioned in a recent review these guys seem to nail down the basics and produce true-to-style interpretations that really hit the spot. Looking forward to their next offering.

Brasserie Fantome ‘Printemps’ Saison


17425133_663798870470928_1496761124360685004_n“Light, fruity and champagne-like. Fantôme brews special seasonal beers, never repeating a recipe from year to year. This one is for spring.”

We Love the time and effort that goes in to bottling these type of beers. The cap is popped then uncorked and served in to a Trappist tulip. Gorgeous candy red centre that works to amber edges. The pour generates a big fluffy three finger head that settles to a thick overlay, leaving a decent lace trail sticking to the glass.
The trademark funky barnyard aroma is offering really good uplift on the nose. Heady notes of horse blanket, tart citrus, angostura bitters, clove and freshly cracked black pepper mingle with a subtle dry and dusty character that provides another layer of earthy complexity. Definitely getting some herbal undertones in here too. Kind of sweet and floral infused honey malt structure filling it out. Lovely stuff….very intricate.
Quite an interesting texture. It’s all upfront, the rush of acidity, the frothy Co2 and the warmth from the 8% ABV come on strong then mellows in to a malty and slightly dry back palate.
Same kind of deal in flavour. We get the funky and tart citrus, herbal tones, black pepper and other earthy Asian spices on the fore. That black pepper spiciness really prevails, setting up the long dry bitterness until the close. Somewhat of a doughy/bready malt base coming through the mid but it tapers off and clears the way for the dry and bitter finish to hang around on a length.
We can see these guys (like plenty of others in Europe) are still adamant on sticking to the green bottle! We’re happy ours isn’t skunked but furthermore it tasted lovely and fresh, full on with the citrus funk, spicy, musty and herbal. Not overly boozy either, quite pleasant to drink. A delicious Wallonian-style classic.

Brasserie Fantome ‘Fantome de Noel’ Spiced Saison


16832095_649894041861411_7073346132124926791_n“With Fantôme De Noel, brewer Dany Prignon has created a very dark and entirely unique holiday seasonal beer.  A rich, dark-flavored beer with lots of deep-roasted chocolate malt, but still fairly dry, with a hint of sourness at the core. It is very spicy, with some winter spruce flavor in the bargain.”

Served in a Trappist tulip. This attractive little number pours a murky chestnut hue with a relatively well retained two finger head. It eventually peels back to a fine film with a few patches of soapy lace clinging to the glass.
The aroma is unbelievably complex. The main scents we continually end up returning to are quince paste, marmalade and pickled ginger. From there it includes everything from lemon gelato, cracked pepper and dates to canned apricots, plum sauce and ginger bread. A total mixed bag if we’ve ever seen one! Perplexing but amazing at the same time.
The mouth feel is quite dense and chewy with a firm warmth from the 10% ABV. Co2 is moderate with hints of dryness forming on the rear. Certainly a steady quaffer this one.
The flavour is absolutely mind blowing. It opens up with an intricate fusion of mixed spice, alcohol, tart plums and mildly acidic lemon. Each sip uncovers a different flavour too as raisins/dates and a rich toffee malty sweetness works in. Those earthy spices like nutmeg and clove carry forward in to a boozy finish that offers spice, tart lemon, figs and bitter citrus notes in the tail.
While we can say that we’re impressed by the depth and overall intricacy of the beer it’s maybe a little too over the top for our liking. Let’s finish by saying it would take a very adventurous palate to enjoy this. Impressive, but far from a “return to” beer.

Sauce Brewing Co. ‘Saucy’ Saison


15894605_628252927358856_58136733951194437_n“The People’s Choice! Back in early October we asked our fans to take part in a poll, where they would vote for their favourite beer style. When the results were in we created our take on the winning style and brewed it up, just in time for our launch party on the 11th of November. And the winner by a close margin was the Saison! This is our take on the farmhouse ale – a unique blend of noble and new-world hops, with two different kinds of yeast come together for a wonderfully aromatic Saison.”

Served in a wide rimmed tulip. We’re met with a hazy golden hue that sports a gushing three finger head. It’s trimmed to a healthy overlay that dispenses a splattering of lace as it ebbs.
Quite yeasty on the nose. We’re getting some strong spicy notes, lots of oriental herbs, citronella oil, lemon candy, bubblegum, peach and a subtle barnyard funk. Tonnes of character here with an excellent blend of sweet fruits and yeasty phenols. Strong start.
The mouth feel is dry and tart with good Co2 levels. We get a slight acidity along with a very mild warmth from the 6% ABV. Mild-medium in body.
Similar to the aroma it’s very yeasty upfront, almost cloying in its delivery. A mild line of acidity cuts through the spicy and estery characters that precede a fusion of herbal and grassy hops midway. This saison finished on a very dry note with hints of funky barnyard, earth and candied lemons that retain well on the rear palate.
We’re not totally bowled over by it but it’s certainly a decent new world interpretation of the style. It’s got all the yeasty spice, funk and acidity one would want from a saison, along with the subtle fruits and grassy accents from the hops. A fine offering.

Brasserie Fantome Saison


15319135_608530799331069_8894778466118410638_n“This is a tremendously delicious, textural, and fizzy county ale, bright gold colour, citric and sour, reminiscent of a good champagne or lambic but in a class all its own.
Fantôme – Golden ale, 8% alc. by volume, with a wonderfully musty and characterful aroma. There are many drinkers out there who believe this is the “Nectar of the Gods.” Certainly no other brewer makes beer like this, in Belgium or anywhere. How many beers of 8% plus offer such fresh fruitiness? A solid Belgian saison beer at its base, with an unusual overlay of fruitiness.”

Uncapped, uncorked then served in to a wide rimmed tulip. Fantôme pours a cloudy golden orange hue that’s capped off by a head that swells to about two fingers before it retracts and settles to a wispy overlay that laces well.
The aroma is incredible, every time we take a whiff we pick up some new scent. Initially we get a citric sweetness that has uncanny similarities to a lemon, lime and bitters. Our 2nd crack uncovers a fair amount of spice – clove, pepper, aniseed and lemongrass are the most discernible. Herbs also come through quite strong (mainly a minty tone), hints of fleshy mango and rockmelon, strawberry, barnyard and an all round funky sourness at its core. So much depth and character on the nose.
The texture of the beer is somewhat light and silky with a fairly decent body filling it out. The 8% ABV is well concealed. Mild acidity.
We taste a spicy warmth emphasized by a delicate heat from the booze upfront. Yeasty phenols, musty barnyard notes and tart citrus take charge through a slightly sweet middle of honey and apricot before she punctuates with a mildly dry, fruity and spicy finish. Good endurance on to the back end as well.
That’s a damn fine Saison! A true interpretation of the Wallonian style. It’s a melting pot of spice, herbs and tangy citrus with the musty barnyard notes and restrained sourness that makes it a perfect summer drop but could well be enjoyed in either Autumn or Spring. Very versatile, very tasty. Classy stuff.

Prickly Moses Handcrafted Beer Saison


14915437_590238367826979_4240165094208172123_n“A Belgian styled Saison, the use of a specific Saison yeast imparts typical tartness as well as underlying wine notes, with one of the yeast strains in the mix having red wine origins. Golden in colour with an astringent dryness, making this a refreshing Belgian ale. Saison is brewed with pure Otway rainwater. This beer is one of three in the Otway Trilogy Series of French and Belgian Farmhouse Ales, others include Reserve De Otway and Farmhouse Ale (7.2%)”

Served in a wide rimmed tulip. Pouring a hazy amber hue with a fizzy two finger head on top. It doesn’t hold up for long as it collapses to a ring without much lace on the glass. The nose presents as somewhat conventional in its delivery of champagne-like citric funk and spicy notes. Fruit esters, fresh pear, banana runts and bubblegum all tie in beautifully with the super sweet malt backing. Maybe just a slight impression of bitters coming through too. The texture of the beer is light and a little gassy with energetic Co2. The 7.2% ABV only mildly reveals itself with a warming heat on the back end. Low bitterness. Mild-medium in body. We’re getting quite a bit of yeasty spice, sweet malts and candied orange on entry. Just a hint of tartness underlining it as a taste of fresh coriander and white pepper bridges the mid palate. The finish is dry, musty and spicy with a considerable amount of funk closing it out. She’s a bit of a stayer too as it really draws out some length in the tail. That’s a pretty good crack at this traditional French style. We like how it’s sold in 750ml bottles because once the 7.2% ABV is considered this beer could easily substitute a bottle of champagne. The similarities in Co2, citrus and its dry refreshing texture make for a perfect replacement. And it pairs well with a whole range of different cuisine! Not bad.

Feral Brewing Company ‘Ace Of Base’ Imperial India Saison


14601129_576705135846969_4489009610819960104_n“When we managed to get our hands on some Sorachi Ace hops we certainly saw the sign and were inspired to pull this golden oldie out from our back catalogue. Ace of Base is brewed to showcase Sorachi Ace hops which deliver a front of stage citrus explosion, in perfect rhythm with a dry and assertive bitterness out back, leaving a delicious resinous hop mouthfeel that’s off the charts.”

Served in a wide rimmed tulip. She pours a cloudy golden hue with a fizzy two finger cap over the top. The head gradually reduces and establishes a fine film with some scattered patches of lace left in its wake. The aroma packs a lot of sorachi citrus punch initially. Plenty of lemon and lime as the label suggests. This certainly adds to the apparent tartness which gives the aroma it’s funky character. More subtle suggestions of orange and pineapple come through as undertones of coriander leaves and white pepper rounds it all out. Really fresh and snappy on the nose. The mouth feel is frothy, slightly sharp and dry in the finish. The Co2 provides a pleasant tingling sensation while an assertive bitterness penetrates upfront but planes in to the swallow. In flavour the citrus notes come on a bit sharper as opposed to the creamier and almost sorbet-like texture it offers on the nose. We’re sure that the 8.3% ABV definitely plays a considerable role in that. Subtle notes of peppery spice strengthen the alcohol burn as bold herbaceous notes introduce a prickly, grassy and ultimately dry and bitter finish. We’re a little split between the aroma and flavour here. The nose presented some really aromatic qualities whereas the the palate was slightly unbalanced and seemed to favour the booze a bit too much. In saying that the sorachi ace hops shone through and featured well throughout the beer. Some pros and cons but essentially it’s fun, summery and quite easy to put back. Not bad.

Victory/Dogfish Head/Stone ‘Saison du Buff’ Saison


14333740_567939883390161_265506784852202398_n“This saison has been infused with a herbaceous blend of Stone Farms and locally harvested sage, lemon thyme, rosemary and parsley and dry-hopped with Citra hops for a refreshing finish. First brewed in 2010, this citrusy farmhouse ale was named Saison du BUFF in tribute to the ad hoc coalition that Sam (Dogfish Head), Bill (Victory) and Greg (Stone) formed in 2003. Called Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor (BUFF), it was their way to show the beer industry that they were banding together to make room on the shelf for craft beer. Six years later this farm-to-kettle beer still boasts the use of freshly picked local herbs as well as Citra and Centennial hops to infuse crisp, savory, mouthwatering flavors.”

Served in a wide rimmed tulip. The hazy amber pour knocks up a modest finger of loosely held foam. The head doesn’t take long to collapse as it settles to a thick ring with minimal lacing. The aroma smells really fresh and herbal with subtle lashes of citrus peel and lemon cutting through. The bottle shows parsley, sage, rosemary and lemon thyme as additional ingredients in the brew and we tell you what, they certainly shine through. Only a very delicate dry barnyard-like character to it. Acidity is mild and the bretty funk that is often a trait of Saisons is also pretty restrained. Not a lot going on really. Just a crisp, herbal and refreshing aroma. The texture in the mouth is fizzy and mineraly with vigorous Co2. The 52 IBU provides a healthy bitterness while the 6.8% ABV is masked nicely. Drinks well and keeps with the light, crisp character of the beer. From the first sip through to the finish the fresh herbs and crisp bitterness would have to be the dominant flavours. Hints of spice and lemon develop late in the mid as it leads in to the dry and herbaceous finish with good duration on the back palate. We must admit when we saw that three of America’s best breweries collaborated on a Saison we almost wet ourselves. The unfortunate thing is it’s just not that exciting. It’s a little one-dimensional and at times could be mistaken for a Witbier. The herbs have been used well but that’s about it. Nice and light, crisp and highly palatable but when it comes down to it, it’s just your run of the mill Saison.