Here’s an old go-to for me, one of my favorite beers, in my favorite style, “Saison/Farmhouse Ale,” from the classic Brasserie Dupont in Belgium. I’ll do a style profile at some point; it will be a long one, as there’s a lot to say about saison. Right now I want to dispense with the storytelling and just talk about what I’m drinking. Here’s the picture:
Look at that. Now that’s beer. Unfiltered, bottle-conditioned and alive, it pours a hazy liquid sunshine with a tall crown of coarse foam. When pouring this beer, you’ll want to choose a glass that allows for a whole lot of headroom. Tulip glasses are probably ideal, and if you have a Duvel tulip such as the one pictured……use it, because that glass was very specifically crafted to deal with an extremely foamy beer. If not, an oversized wine glass would be a perfectly good substitute. Don’t use a pint glass for this. By the way, there’s nothing wrong at all with using good wine glasses for beer, as they capture volatiles and concentrate the aroma with beer just as they do for wine, making them great choices for aromatic beers, if you don’t have a bunch of fancy beer glasses.
Upon popping the cork, I always smell a certain mustiness, perfectly normal for this style – kind of a sourdough bread aroma. Don’t be surprised if there is a little skunk from the green bottle, but if so, this will typically go away. I also get a lot of lemon cake, wheatgrass and honey in the nose, along with a general “weedy” smell. Not 4/20-type weedy, more like giant-meadow-filled-with-weeds weedy. “Rustic” is a good descriptor, I think.
On the palate, sourdough bread with a faint suggestion of tart apple is right there, followed by a goodly lemon-y hop bitterness and a bone-dry finish of black pepper and only the suggestion of honey without its sweetness. Excellent dry complexities. Saison is a beer that really should be dry, so don’t be surprised at its relative austerity. Mouthfeel is crisp ‘n cracklin’, to say the least.
At 6.5%, this one won’t have you down for the count, even if you do kill off the 750ml bottle by your lonesome. Not only that, due to its crisp dryness, it’s quite the refresher, making it…..yup, you guessed it, another perfect Miami beer!
This is also a universal food pairing beer – it works with almost anything. Outstanding with any Asian, Mexican, Cuban, Italian, French, Indian inspired cuisine…..or a plain old burger and fries, you name it. Omelets? Awesome. Cheese plate? Pick a cheese, any cheese, it barely matters due to the superior palate-scrubbing nature of this beer. Know what else is a cool pairing with this? Key Lime Pie! Few would think to pair a saison with dessert, but it worked surprisingly well.
Overall Impression 4.5
Beer Advocate 4.17