Category Archives: Saisons/Farmhouse Ale

Phantom Carriage ‘Disembodied Entity’ BA Saison w Apricots

Rating:

“Saison barrel-aged with brettanomyces and apricots.”

Glassware: Stemmed Tulip.

Appearance: Cloudy pastel orange with a short fizzy head which peels off quickly. Not a great deal of lace is being left behind.

Aroma: Amazing. Almost smells like a world class Lambic with its gorgeous apricot, peach and candied lemon notes. Subtle hints of brett here and there…funky, spicy and horsey. Woody oak, white grapes, earthy hops and tart citrus for added depth. Superb. As we said it’s more Lambic than Saison!

Flavour: Holy moly she’s quite sour too! We detect the apricots instantly as they morph in to hints of unripened peach, melon and kumquat. Tart citrus comes through the other side as does a mix of wheat grains and straw. The stonefruits come full 360 and finish it all off.

Mouthfeel: Tart, crisp and slightly acidic. Kind of a lightly sparkling Co2. Pucker rating gets a deserved 3.5/5 and the 5.3% ABV is surprisingly lower than expected.

Overall: Probably our favourite of the PC beers we’ve had to date. Similar to Mortal Wood just with more pronounced bretty funk and wheat grains. Diggin it.

Jervis Bay Brewing ‘Surreal’ Saison

Rating:

“Saison is a style originating in French-speaking Belgium that was traditionally brewed to take advantage of the seasonal harvest. True to form, ours is composed from barley, wheat and oats, but what makes a saison unique isn’t grains or hops, it’s the yeast. Adapted for high-temperature fermentation, it expresses notes of banana, clove and white pepper. It also has an insatiable appetite for sugar and devours almost all of it, resulting in a super-dry finish to this unique beer. Get your party saison started, but be careful! Its delicate body conceals an inner strength”

Glassware: Stemmed tulip.

Appearance: 100% clear straw golden body with a well kept head perched on top. Nice wavy lace sticks to the glass as it subsides.

Aroma: Displaying those classic yeasty notes of banana runts, clove and peppery spice, candied lemon, Angostura bitters, Sprite, ground coriander, orange/rind and wet grass or hay. The latter certainly works in to the grainy and wheaty malt that fills out nicely.

Flavour: It lands with a heady floral character and tonnes of yeasty Belgian spice and banana. Candied citrus, orange peel and herbs are thrown in amongst a rustic funk. Wheat grains and straw/hay and some honey sweetness then shift in to a slightly dry and musty finish with plenty of yeasty funk on the tail.

Mouthfeel: Light, spritzy, mild-medium body. 5.9% ABV is kinda inconclusive.

Overall: A pretty ballsy beer to take on in your first year of operation but big ups to them. And even better… they’ve done a reasonable job. Very tidy!

Mountain Culture X Wildflower ‘Family Fuelled’ Saison

Rating:

“Mountain Culture x Wildflower Family Fuelled is a beer made with our mates at Mountain Culture Beer Co. We brewed this old school can-conditioned saison together in late Feb at their place with pale Schooner grains from Voyager Craft Malt. Mashing in real cool and slowly ramping the temp over a couple of hours, it was boiled with fresh & aged spicy, noble hops, knocked out warm and open fermented w/o temp control in a flat bottom tank with our favourite pure culture saison strain. Amongst both of our favourite styles to make and drink designed to be enjoyed as it was made… with friends who feel like family (well maybe on zoom at the moment). We’re pretty proud of that and wanted to celebrate it in this beer.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Pale golden yellow with a soft haze. A thumb of fluffy white foam rests atop and works a fine lace down the glass.

Aroma: Wow this is about as traditional as you can get. The yeast esters dominate – banana runts, clove, pear and a touch of bubblegum. Nice and dry, floral, a little musty with plenty of barnyard funk/horse blanket, citrus rind, pepper, Angostura bitters and herbs. Kind of has traits of a top shelf Belgian Tripel. One of the better Saison aroma’s we’ve enjoyed lately.

Flavour: Dead set spot on for the style. There’s a rush of funky, yeasty and bretty flavours to the fore. Backed up by peppery spice, orange citrus and rind, stonefruit and Angostura bitters. Some floral honey, wheat grains/hay, herbals and a dry musty barnyard funk which leads to a spicy and yeasty finish with good duration.

Mouthfeel: Light on, crisp, mineraly. Mild-medium body. The 4.5% ABV is surprising considering the amount of flavour happening.

Overall: A really impressive Saison but we shouldn’t expect anything less from two breweries who are at the top of their game. Mountain Culture though…they can do no wrong!

Molly Rose ‘When Life Gives You Lemons’ Farmhouse Ale

Rating:

“Dry hopped and dry lemoned (fresh lemons) farmhouse ale. Clean and crisp with some specialty malt giving it a biscuity character making the beer reminiscent of a hoppy lemon slice. Unique hop profile Loral, Amarillo, Centennial and Ahtanum, with Aussie Pale malt, raw wheat, oats and munich malt.”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Cloudy pale golden yellow with a mammoth four finger head. It collapses and forms a ring of loose bubble. Patchy spots of lace stick as we go

Aroma: A couple of different shades of lemon excite the olfactory’s initially…fresh and almost piney scents first followed by more of a candied and sugary version. Floral notes come through with a kind of citrusy champagne yeast, lime, peppery spice, subtle bubblegum and other yeast esters. There’s a crusty malt profile underneath it all too. Not bad.

Flavour: It’s all a little timid but the lemon does come forward first. Fresh, candied and yeasty versions all rolled in to one with a somewhat grainy farmyard funk fused through. Subtle peppery spice, citrus peel and herbs cut in and shift in to a really dry, funky and citrusy finish which endures nicely.

Mouthfeel: Light and gassy with rather high carbonation. Not much behind it unfortunately as it peeters out on to a barren dryness. 5.2% ABV neither here nor there.

Overall: Quite a disappointing intro for Molly Rose. We’d heard good things about them so naturally we were keen to give them a run. It just seems a little disjointed really…not sure if the lemon really fits in that well either. Oh well we have their IPA next so we’ll see how that fares.

Far Yeast Brewing ‘Kagua’ Saison

Rating:

“Fruity and dry farmhouse ale with refreshing yuzu aroma”

Glassware: Tulip.

Appearance: Hazy burnished orange with a thumb of fizzy white head. It doesn’t take long to settle at the rim with an egg shaped mounting floating in the middle.

Aroma: Really unique. The first thing that comes to mind are numerous floral perfumes i.e lavender, verbena, sage and rosemary. Maybe a hint of musk as well. Plenty of peppery spice as a good Saison should plus a hint of tart yellow citrus – only one Japanese citrus can smell like that and that is the one and only yuzu! Decent ester/phenol profile, little bit of farmyard funk. Pretty good.

Flavour: Doesn’t seem to have the same amount of pizzazz as the aroma. Picking up much more restrained notes of floral perfumes, citrus, peppery spice and wheaty farmyard funk. Something kind of dry and musty happening as well. A bit of a less than impressive finish of wheaty malts, pepper and yeast esters.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy and well rounded. Slightly flat though. Medium body. 6% ABV well concealed.

Overall: Unsure about this one. It certainly has the bones of a good Saison plus the aroma was great but the tired flavour profile and lack of Co2 was the let down for us. Not sold.

One Drop Brewing ‘5 Brett’ Saison

Rating:
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

Rating:
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

Rating:
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

Rating:
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

Rating:
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

Rating:
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’

Rating:
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

Rating:
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

Rating:
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

Rating:
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

Rating:
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

Rating:
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

Rating:
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

Rating:
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

Rating:
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.