Category Archives: Saisons/Farmhouse Ale

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.

Stillwater Artisanal ‘Classique’ Saison


13511004_533793013471515_5327857696572279476_n“Post-Prohibition Style (ale).. corn, rice, pilsner malt.. and lots of your favorite old-school American hops.. “your Grandfather’s new beer.”

Served in a shaker glass. Pouring a cloudy straw yellow with a two finger cap forming on top. The head is retained well, gradually reducing to a fine overlay with patches of thick blotchy lace being strewn down the glass. Quite a classic or should we say “classique” saison aroma – heavy on spices (clove, pepper and nutmeg) artificial fruits (bubblegum, banana runts, citrus) orange peel, herbs and slightly musty barnyard notes. Hints of that mineral-like earthiness comes through as do subtle undertones of lemonade and champagne. Very traditional style saison on the nose. In the mouth it’s super smooth with a lively effervescence. Moderate acidity and mild-medium in body. Minimal bitterness but a delicate dryness develops on the back end. Nice overall feel. Pretty funky upfront with an emphasis on lemon/citric tang. A fresh herbaceous flavour hinges off it and carries hints of grass and citrusy hops through the mid. We get that peppery spiciness creeping in before a soft, dry finish somewhat tapers off without much duration to the rear palate. Look, it’s not a mind blowing saison but it’s certainly got the base traditional characters here. Its downfall may lie with the brewers idea of modelling it off the “American industrial lager” which would explain the lack of body and length. Either way you look at it it’s not a bad drop, it’s just nothing memorable.

To OL ‘Peardon My French’ Saison


13055431_507043339479816_7674714848352938382_n“Cider-like Saison brewed with Pears and aged on Sauterne barrels. This crisp ale is straw coloured and sparkling using only Pilsner Malt and Unmalted Wheat, however we used Cider yeast  and brewed it with Pears and used Calypso hops, to layer this beer with fruit flavours. This beer was then infused in Sauterne barrels, a sweet French wine, with Brett added into the barrels.”

Served from a 750ml bottle in to a beer tulip. The clear golden hue is capped off by a billowing three finger crown that’s retained really well. As the head retreats a smattering of thick, blotchy lace is left clinging to the walls of the glass. Quite a strong aroma here, definitely getting a lot of fruits coming through. A good whack of ripe citrus, custard apple, pear and white grapes balance out the slightly dry and dusty barnyard characters. A hint of yeasty funk imparts spicy notes of pepper and clove along with a subtle breadiness. Maybe a light undertone of oak as well. Really nice aroma, well layered too. In the mouth it’s silky smooth with a somewhat gelatinous texture. Acidity is mild for a saison and the Co2 is moderate. Not overly heavy although there is some weight adding good body and fullness to it. The flavour follows on from the aroma nicely. A certain citrus tang hits the palate along with ripe orange, a hint of grapes and a mild oaky tannin upfront. A delicate Bretty funk then develops as suggestions of fleshy pear are tasted midway. Sweet malts, apple/pear and a wine-like fruitiness rounds out this lovely saison. Really nice drop. It’s much sweeter than most other saisons we’ve tried, almost sugary at times but the balance between the sweetness, the mild oak and the Bretty funk is impeccable. These Danish brewers show their class once again. Solid offering.

Prairie Artisan Ales ‘Standard’ Saison


12670465_474636552720495_5769401321046541878_n“Prairie Standard is our everyday beer. Its a light, crisp saison with a hoppy finish. This beer is dry hopped 1lb per bbl with Motueka hops. A lovely New Zealand hop with a spicy lime like flavor and aroma.”

Due to a recent shipment of Prairie Ales to our foreign shores bottle shops and craft beer lovers alike have been in a frenzy trying to buy up before they all sell out. Thankfully we got in quick as anything from this American breweries range is rare down under and not to be missed. Served in a wide-rimmed tulip glass. The pale straw yellow pour builds a frothy two finger head that rapidly shrinks down to a thin sheet with reasonable lace trailing behind it. Instantly the olfactory’s are energized by a lovely fusion of funky yeast and fruity hops. Plenty of that sweet and artificial banana and bubblegum that’s working well in to the refreshing lemon and lime, resulting in a lifted and very summery character. Some subtle barnyard notes, spices and apple/pear also offer another level of light, dry funkiness. Maybe a hint of apricot as it begins to warm. Very nice. A somewhat mineraly texture in the mouth. Not overly dry and the acidity is quite mild. Co2 is vibrant and the body is light-medium. She’s pretty palatable. It kind of has that homemade lemon soda flavour to it upfront. Musty notes of hay and wheat are introduced as the mid turns on a gentle bitterness. A soft peppery spice develops before a dry and dusty finish completes it. The hop bitterness holds a tight grip on the back palate displaying some decent length. What we love about Saisons is their versatility. This drop could be drunk all year round but for maximum enjoyment crack one in the warmer months by the pool….or the barby….or even in one hand while the other is in the water getting munched by a massive catfish as the label suggests. Either way it’s tough not to like. Solid offering.

Bridge Road Brewers ‘Chevalier’ Saison


12523125_466780470172770_5037448680604989173_n“The Saison is a classic Belgian style, not often seen outside of its homeland. It was traditionally brewed by farmers and their workers as a beverage to consume during the summer months. Bridge Road Brewers have crafted their own Saison to add to their Chevalier range. This beer is quite unique, light straw in colour, with a tight bright white head. Aromas are dominated by esters and phenolic characters, owing to the Saison yeast strain, which also gives the beer its characteristic tart, dry and acidic profile.”

Served in a beer tulip. Atop sits a fizzy three finger head which retreats to a thin overlay. As it ebbs a healthy amount of sudsy lacing follows a somewhat milky, straw-golden body down. Very light and summery on the nose with wafts of candied lemon, passion fruit, vanilla and banana yet quite complex too as yeast scents of clove, bubblegum, white pepper and a dry barnyard mustiness also comes forward. Only a slight acidity is detected, in fact it’s probably more of a tart fruit character than anything else. Very approachable so far. In the mouth it’s light on with a dry texture and spritzy Co2. Again, acidity is mild but a discernible tartness does provide that saliva-inducing quality to the tongue. The front palate yields a dry mustiness that’s laced nicely with esters, spices and yeasty phenols. A restrained fruity tartness carries it all across the mid and in turn delivers a dry, yeasty finish with a hint of citrus and vines on the back end. Essentially it’s a pretty faultless Saison, although you could say it’s also quite “safe” at the same time. It’s light, tasty, a little complex but highly approachable. Kudos to Bridge Road Brewers, we liked it.

De Ranke “De Dottignies’ Saison


imageWe’ve actually been having quite a bit of trouble finding any useful information on this Saison. It is our first crack at this breweries range but what we found peculiar is the fact that they don’t list this as one of their beers on their website. So, apologies for that, we’ll move on.

Unwrapped, popped and served from the 750ml bottle in to a beer tulip. Not much of a hiss upon cracking it but a hazy yet bright amber hue is topped off by a healthy three finger cap anyway. The head reduces quite rapidly to a fingernail’s height with wavy lace patterns trailing it down. Similar to all good Saison’s, this aroma is dry, yeasty and slightly funky. A mild lemon tartness leads out with a soft clove spiciness right behind. We do get a bit of that artificial banana lolly yeastiness but in fact it’s more stone fruit-like, either apricot or peach. The malts have a white bread crustiness to them, becoming more doughy once the beer comes up to room temperature. Really nice. So light but maintaining that funky complexity on the nose. Quite a frothy texture in the mouth. Co2 is medium-high while the body is mild-medium. No ABV stated on the bottle but numerous websites put it at 5.5% which would explain the light feel and lack of alcohol burn. The palate initially offers up a delicious combination of pear, fruit esters, hay and a dry, grassy hop bitterness that persists on through the mid. A peppery spice, a kind of mineraly note and a soft citric acidity forms before a dry, peppery finish rounds it all out. Good length. Wow! Plenty going on here. Shows the brewing skills posessed as the complexity is layered and gels very nicely. Nothing clashes, just a really well constructed Saison. Solid offering.

Edge brewing/Stillwater Artisanal ales ‘Angel of Zest’ finger lime saison


imageA tantalising saison that is dry and slightly zesty ale with farmhouse tones. We infuse this ale with finger limes, a native australian fruit, known as the caviar of the Citrus world. The limes are hand peeled for the zest and steeping the extract of its aromatic oils provides a tangy, tart belgian style ale.

wow, we like the sound of these little limes. Hadn’t even heard of them before this so well done australia. Pours exactly like a coopers pale ale with a fluffy white 1 finger head with lots of carbonation seen at the base of the head. The nose is like a lager with a mild lime aroma, and subtle belgian yeast in the background. First sip is interesting. There is mild Belgian undertones, combined with what tastes like mild lager malt. A good swish around the mouth shows up decent carbonation, and a definite tartness from the fruit used. There is moderate bitterness in the mouth after each sip from the citrus. We get some of the 5.5% alc vol here after each mouthful. Bit thin on the back palate though. We not quite sure about this beer. It lacks serious flavour. We know that limes are the showcase but it’s leaves a dry, lager like palate, with very little else. Sure it’s a smooth drop, but we were expecting far more saison like flavours. It’s just not exciting. We may as well have bought a 6 pack of commercial lager. Disappointing.

Exit Brewing ‘#006’ Saison


11838789_439263676257783_4399148358795932553_o“Course of the saisons continues. For #001 we wanted Nelson Sauvin, we couldn’t get it so pulled a last minute sub of Sorachi Ace. This time we got Nelson, but couldn’t get Galaxy. We must have abused hops in a previous life.”

This is our first entry for this Victorian brewery. Like many other home brewers turned gypsy brewers, these two lads from Melbourne are yet to open their own establishment, so for now they brew their craft out of Cavalier’s tanks. Served in to a wide-rimmed tulip glass. A hazy straw-golden pour arouses a big, fluffy three finger crown that leisurely peels away and settles to a thick coating that persists. Draws some healthy lacing. Nice, strong aroma. Big and yeasty with a tonne of spice emanating. Pepper, clove and coriander are the dominant scents while a hint of vanilla and cardamon also creep in. Moderate acidity, we get a subtle candied lemon character while suggestions of orange peel are also in here. Maybe a faint hint if bubblegum and passion fruit just to sweeten the deal. Really nice, good start to this beer. We get quite a mineraly texture in the mouth. The Co2 levels are vibrant, giving a real lively effervescence on the tongue. Modest body and the 6.2% ABV is nicely fused in among the assembly of flavours. Great balance. A little bit of funky barnyard/hay and spice initiates the palate. A slightly assertive bitterness also shows up, carrying it all forward through the mid. Some soft citric notes develop late and lead in to a dry, grassy/herbal finish. Fine duration ensures a long, drawn out conclusion. We must admit we are very surprised by the quality of this drop. All the traditional Saison characters are here while the use of hops such as Sorachi Ace and Citra have been executed to perfection. Damn fine brew here, we really enjoyed it.

Brouwerij Emelisse Saison


imageBrilliant brewery from the Netherlands here. These guys offer a massive range of beers such as the double IPA and their incredible Russian imperial stout, but none can top the brilliance of their signature creme brulee stout. For us, one of the best stouts we’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking. This saison was a bit of a random pick but as we mentioned before, these brewers can certainly brew a good beer. So here goes.

Served in to a beer tulip. The slightly hazy honey appearance is capped off by a fluffy two finger head that reduces somewhat and holds at a good 0.5 cm. Decent head retention, allowing for some thick, wavy lace trails to be released. The aroma is a little delicate but we do pick up faint wafts of grains, wheat, peach, citrus and a touch of tangy orange sherbert. When we really get our noses in deep and inhale a certain yeast complexity is offering a kind of Belgian blond/tripel-like peppery spice with a light herbal note. Nice aromas but it’s just lacking a little in depth and vigor. The mouth feel is nice and light on with a slightly prickly texture. A bit of dryness to the tongue too, the IBU only sits at a mild 45 but an assertive bitterness is definitely felt. On the palate we get the same gentle approach as we got with the aroma. A nice little fusion of peppery spice, grains and grapefruit are followed by a mild bitterness through the mid. Maybe a touch of funky sourness forming late as it finishes dry and bitter. Not the best saison we’ve ever had and certainly no where near their best brew. Although, factor in the low ABV of 4.6%, the light body and fruity, bitter flavour and it’s one that could easily be sessioned on. Hey, isn’t that what saisons were originally brewed for anyway? Either way, a bit tame for us, we’ll be looking forward to the next installment from Emelisse.

Brewery Ommegang ‘Three eyed Raven’ Dark Saison


image“From the darkness I watch you. All of you, all of your lives, with a thousand eyes, and one. Abiding in the shadows of this dark saison lie beguiling and entrancing aromas and flavours – girded by crisp lasting herbal hop notes and a yeasty, spicy finish.”

May we just say that we aren’t big fans of the Game of Thrones series. What we are huge fans of, though, is this brewery who are, you could say, the American arm of the Duvel/Moortgat family. No explanations needed there. The artwork must also be commended. Very detailed. Uncaged and uncorked then served in to a beer tulip. The deep cola pour strived to disclose an edge of dark mahogany while a big, puffy two and a half finger head formed on top. The head persists stubbornly, only peeling off a centimetre or so before settling to a good 7-8mm cap. Tonnes of thick, soapy residue is left clinging to the glass. Looks attractive. A good ten minutes have passed us by and we’re still dumbfounded by this aroma. What we can detect is a really viscous, glutinous character of cookie dough along with undertones of play doh, clove, subtle banana, phenols, cooking chocolate and lemon/lime juice. A real mixed bag of aromas. But you know what though, it somehow works…..well. In the mouth it has a nice density, really filling it out with a soft, moussy texture. The Co2 levels are medium-high and the body is about mild-medium. We have to give credit for the brilliant masking of the 7.2% ABV. Literally undetectable. Upfront we get a complex fusion of peppery spice, fruity esters and lightly roasted malt. As it carries forward through the mid, doughy notes are picked up as suggestions of Belgian yeast provides candy-ish flavours of banana and spicy clove. Completing this slightly complex brew are hints of stewed pears, earthy spice and a touch of hop bitterness that boasts some pretty good length. To summarise would be quite hard. As this is, from memory, our 2nd ever crack at a dark saison (2nd to the Stillwater dark saison) so the simple overview is…we liked it. So much to like about the complexity, the spicy overtones and the light roasted malts to balance it all out. The 750ml bottle to yourself may be a little too much though. Goes great when it’s shared. Not bad at all.

Le Trou du Diable ‘La Saison du Tracteur’


imageLa saison du tracteur translated in English means the season of the tractor. The saison was a very popular brew among the farmers and farm hands in France and Belgium way back as far as the 1600’s. Traditionally they were much lower in ABV (around 3%) these days the new world saisons can reach as high as 8% ABV. This brew we have here, which is our very first from this brewery, is weighing in at 6%. Let’s roll on.

Served in a beer tulip. Our careful pour still managed to prop up a mountainous 4 finger crown that steadily deconstructs and holds at about 1cm. Laced well. Underneath is a straw-golden body with highly active carbonation levels that really contribute to this persistent head. Decent overall appearance. Our initial thoughts of the aroma were quite dry, earthy and fruity although it’s still very heady. Once the foam had settled a vigorous twirl of the glass awakens deeper scents of banana, pear, bubblegum, clove, wheat and vanilla. Smells like a good saison should. Very nice. In the mouth it has an oily texture with medium carbonation. Nice weight on the tongue, drinks smoothly with a slight grip on its way down. What we really like about the flavour profile is it’s balance. Upfront we taste a creamy hint of vanilla with a splash of passion fruit and a mildly assertive bitterness flowing through. A touch of spicy pepper comes through as the yeast comes alive through the mid. Bubblegum and banana lollies develop and lead to a spicy, yeasty finish with good length. The 6% ABV is very well behaved here, there is a restrained presence of it early on but it’s smoothed out and eventually fades out amicably. Really nice drop from these French Canadian brewers. It’s good to see some competition arise, Dieu du Ciel may have met their match. Great way to get things started with this brewery, we really liked this.

Great divide brewing co. ‘Colette’ Saison


imageFresh off the back of their last brew we reviewed (Yeti imperial stout) we decided to have a crack at the polar opposite and go for one of their much lighter beers and see how they compare.

Served in a beer tulip the cloudy but really bright straw-gold appearance is alive with highly active carbonation initially, settling to a few streams of fizz that rise up to the foamy 2 finger crown. Good head retention, eventually reducing and maintains at about 5-6mm with a heap of thick lacing being omitted. Super sweet on the nose, we’re detecting plenty of sour lemon, citrus rind, strawberry, banana lollies, bubble gum and clove upfront. A little musty and dry with a distinct barnyard aroma that mixes well with the savoury undertone of grains and wheat. Quite a firm acidity too, but that mellows out once the beer warms. There’s a fair bit happening here, slightly complex. In the mouth it’s smooth with a frothy texture. Medium carbonation. Pretty light on, making for a real session beer if it weren’t for a high ABV (7.3%) which by the way is well disguised by the acidity on the palate. Upfront we can taste an earthy and spicy mix of tart fruits, lemon, wheat and pear. A really dry and musty mid-palate with a hint of hay delivers a dry finish with a suggestion of spice and pear/apple on the back end. A little bit of warmth from the alcohol in the background ensures the duration on the tongue. So this brewery can brew a good dark beer and going from this Saison they can brew a damn fine light beer too. We’ll definitely be keeping our eyes peeled for the next release from these guys. Solid stuff.

Brasserie de Silly Saison


imageThis is the benchmark Saison, brewed in the traditional way since the early 1800’s for French farmers who would add whatever leftover grains and spices they had laying around in to their brews. Over the years this Saison has somewhat become the face of the style.

Served in a beer tulip the light brown pour reveals a deep copper hue when held to the light. The 1 finger beige cap holds on but eventually reduces to a thin film that laces poorly. We had to take a few long whiffs to get accustomed to this aroma as it is quite complex. Our first thoughts were a mix of earth, dust and grains with a chewy undertone of toffee, berries and sourdough, although the depth is properly uncovered when we begin to pick up muted wafts of fruit cake, brandy, plum and Barley wine-like residual sugars. Wow, this is a really interesting aroma. In the mouth it’s silky smooth with mild carbonation. The body is quite light on making for super easy drinking. After a few sips we can surely say the flavour doesn’t follow the aroma as a mild tang balances out the sweet, bready taste of brioche. As the beer moves down the mid-palate displays chewy caramel with a hint of brown sugar, delivering a doughy finish with a touch of cherry tartness on the back end. Good length. They say that the 5.5% ABV is quite low…..gotta love the Belgians. All in all we have to award points for originality and complexity, and it may well be the new world craft beer drinker in us talking but give us a light, spicy and sour Saison any day of the week. Still, a good brew worthy of it’s tag.

Prairie artisan ale ‘birra’


image“Birra is a light, sessionable farmhouse ale. It is crisp with notes of black pepper and orange and goes perfectly with food.”

This is new brewery to us from Oklahoma USA, named Krebs brewing co. It is a saison and described as a sessional farmhouse ale. From the pour we get a hazy, straw colour with a massive bubbly head that dissipates quickly, leaving a 10mm head. Initial aroma of grain, Brett/farmhouse yeast, lemon and dough. Very similar to a Hoegaarden. First flavours again of farmhouse yeast, hay and light sweet malt. The palate is pretty soft and almost airy. Dry and a bit thin really but this brew is only 4.5% ABV so it’s brewed to be light. We get mild citrus here with malt sweetness and a mild yeasty end palate. Certain carbonation in the mouth with some peppery spice on the very back palate in between gulps. There is no lacing down this tulip glass. Look, in all fairness it’s very drinkable. It’s definitely sessionable and it would be a great starter beer as it’s light, dry and fresh. Nice.

La Sirène Saison


imageThis is our first crack at this artisanal micro-brewery from Melbourne.

Served into a beer tulip the heavily cloudy orange pour whipped up a frenzy of white foam, about 4 fingers of fizzy white head which we had to let settle before pouring the other half of the bottle in. As you could imagine, there are tonnes of lace trails. Without even raising the glass to our noses we can pick up strong wafts of sour lemon. So funky, underneath the tart and musty aromas lie hints of orange, tang, ginger, vanilla, spice and barnyard. In the mouth it feels moussy with medium body. Highly carbonated, although the bubbles do settle down once the beer warms. Upfront, zesty sour lemon pairs well with a mildly assertive hop dryness. Some yeasty notes come through while the mid-palate offers earthy notes, peppery spice and a mild booze burn. The finish is again zesty and dry with an emphasis on sour lemon and funky brett. Good duration on the tongue. 6.5% ABV is spot on and works in unison with the brilliant flavour profile. Wow, this is really cool to see Aussie brewers brewing Saisons of this calibre. We’d have to say this is as good as any classic French Saison on the market. Not as good as the praline ale but still an excellent offering.