Saison, a beer for all seasons?
I think so and was particularly excited about this recent addition to the Summer Wine Brewery bottled range. Yes I prefer to drink saison in the warmer months, but hey, it was snowing outside, the heating on full-bore, I improvised…. 😉
I’d had my first taste of what the guys at SWB can do with this style at their Meet The Brewer Event at Port Street Beer House last year, on show that night was Nettle and Ginger, one of four planned for their “Summer of Saison“, see the quote from brewer James below:
“So you’ve probably guessed we like to explore styles thoroughly before moving on to the next project so this leads us nicely into our SUMMER of SAISON, we are going to brew 4 gyles of saison at 6.0% abv. each with differing dominant flavours, Nettle & Ginger, Lime & Coriander, Lemongrass & Fennel & Orange & Rosemary. As for the hops we are to use, we have lined up some noble goodies in the form of ‘Perle’, ‘Sterling’, ‘Saaz’, ‘Bobek’ & ‘Tettnang’ other varieties used will include ‘East Kent Goldings’ & ‘Liberty’. The selection of hops are designed to compliment & work with the range of ingredients we’re using.“
A lot of beer has passed across the taste buds since that cracking evening at PSBH, I’ve not tasted any of the others planned above and I’m not entirely sure if they ever saw the light of day, regardless of that though, if anything the Lime & Coriander pairing was the one that interested me most.
As I poured mine it had a thin fluffy head, I did try to get more but only managed about a finger width which disappeared pretty fast. The beer itself clear and lively with a sunny pale yellow hue, a constant stream of bubbles rising up the glass like a mini jacuzzi.
Aroma is quite reserved, none of the usual “Summer Wine hop craziness” in this fella, instead it’s a subtle biscuity yeast smell with big zesty lime notes and maybe a hint of black pepper. Once you get stuck in it’s a light refreshing mouthful, bitter and sweet ant the same time if that makes any sense at all. There’s plenty of lime which is quite pithy which delivers a nice sharpness, the coriander though is more subtle, it’s there but sits in the background with a herby peppery-ness that suits the lime to a tee. The whole shebang balanced beautifully by a biscuit and caramel malty sweetness, those sweet malts mingling with that lime bitterness lasting long on the palate after each mouthful.
A beer I’ve looked forward to for a long time, since July 2011 to be exact, but one that was worth waiting for as it definitely doesn’t dissapoint, not that I expected any other outcome..
I love a bit of Saison. The 8% Brodies Summer Saison I sampled on Sunday was very tasty.
I’m thirsty now.
Tried it myself for the first time last weekend, really enjoyed it although my pallette struggled to pick up the coriander but I got the lime. A really interesting derivation on a style i’m only just getting to know.