Tag Archives: saison

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This is delicious. I’m sitting in The Lighterman, Granary Square, Kings Cross. It’s a scorching August day, sweaty and heat-summery, and I’m waiting for a friend for a spot of late lunch. So time for some beer. This Saison is made by Windsor-based Savour Beer. Founded in 2013, they specialise in farmhouse beers. I like this: it tastes human, authentic, complex and real.

Savour Beer Saison, Windsor, England
5% alcohol
A golden colour, this is a deliciously full flavoured saison, with a spicy, tangy, bitter-hoppy twist to the herb and malt base. There’s a lovely depth to this: it’s rich and multilayered, with some floral aromatics from the hops and lovely spicy complexity from the yeasts. It’s mouth filling, has a sense of sweetness, but it’s also really fresh as well. 8/10

 

Hitachino Nest Yuzu Saison du Japon

hitachino nest saison du japon

The Kiuchi brewery is producing some utterly delicious beers under the Hitachino Nest brand. And they’re also just so well packaged, with the distinctive owl logo. We’ve reviewed a couple of them in the past here. I had this beer at The Rake on Sunday evening.

Hitachino Nest Yuzu Saison du Japon
5% alcohol. Complex, textured with sweet textured, honeyed and a bit herbal with some nice tangy spiciness. Lovely intensity here- quite yeasty with some lemony freshness on the finish. Some toffee and malt in the mix, too. Distinctive and delicious. 9/10

8 Wired Saison Sauvin – sensational stuff from New Zealand

8 wired saison sauvin

8 Wired Brewing Co. – named after a specific gauge of fencing wire that’s widely used for just about anything in New Zealand – was originally based in Blenheim, in Marlborough (the country’s largest wine region). It started out in 2009 brewing out of the Renaissance brewery (also excellent), where 8 Wired’s founder Soren Eriksen was working at the time. Now, after a few moves, they now have their own brewery north of Auckland. I’ve tried a few of their beers before, and they’re all remarkable. This Saison is a particularly brilliant beer. I found it at Pigs Ears in Richmond, which has a superb beer selection.

8 Wired Saison Sauvin
7% alcohol
This Kiwi take on Saison is brilliant, made with a French saison yeast and Nelson Sauvin hops. It’s so complex, tangy, bright, fruity and hoppy. There’s real spicy intensity with some sweet apple and pear notes, a tangy lemony twist and some dried herb notes. If you look a little more closely it also has tinned tangerine/mandarin notes and a hint of lychee. Thrilling. 9/10

The remarkable Seizoen Bretta from Oregon

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No formal tasting note here, just an impression of this remarkable Oregon beer. It’s the Logsdon Farmhouse Ales Seizoen Bretta, weighing in at 8% alcohol. I found this on tap at the Craft Beer Co in Holborn, and it was tangy, complex and totally thrilling. Logsdon Farmhouse Ales model their operation on the old-style Belgian farmhouse beers, literally brewed on the farm. The label design is really chintzy and retro (the paintings are by Seaberg Einarsson), and most of their beers are sold in 750 ml bottles, rather than the normal smaller sized ones.  Truly sensational stuff, and worth a special detour because this is near impossible to find in the UK.

Burning Sky Saison à la Provision

burning sky saison a la provision

Burning Sky is a really interesting brewery based in Firle, East Sussex. They make use of large oak barrels and slow brews to make super-complex beers. This is a completely epic beer that has been matured in large foudres. I’m going to be seeking out everything else of theirs that I can find after trying this. It’s astonishing stuff.

Burning Sky Saison à la Provision
6.7% alcohol
A farmhouse beer that has a primary fermentation with a Saison yeast, then undergoes a secondary fermentation with a blend of Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces while ageing in foudres. Amazing stuff. Lovely bright apple and citrus flavours with a complex tangy lemony edge and some spiciness. It’s refreshing, tangy and alive. Remarkable. 9/10

Four Winds Brewing Saison

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There’s interesting beer to be found everywhere these days, it seems. I found this in Vij’s restaurant, Vancouver, Canada. You’ll have to forgive the picture, but the lights were low. It’s from Four Winds Brewing Co. in Delta, British Columbia, and it’s a complex saison-style beer with a spicy tang. I’m beginning to really like Saison-style beers.

Four Winds Brewing Saison, BC, Canada
6.5% alcohol
This is quite delicious. It’s spicy and tangy, with lovely yeasty complexity. Rich, bold flavours with a twist of lime, with real spiciness and nice density. 8.5/10

Revisionist beers from Tesco

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It’s time for the big brewers and supermarkets to jump on the craft beer bandwagon.

Guys, clamber aboard, but be aware that your beers will be subject to scrutiny. I’ve nothing against larger brewers when they make great beer. But I can’t stand it when they make boring beer and use distribution and marketing clout to put it in front of poor suckers who don’t have much in the way of alternatives.

Tesco has just launched a range of ‘craft beers’, which they’ve called ‘Revisionist’. The packaging is great, and all but one is made by Marston’s (the odd one out is from Wychwood). How do they fare?

Revisionist Craft Lager
5% alcohol
Dry hopped with Admiral and Boadicea, made by Marston’s. Yellow/gold colour. Full flavoured lager with notes of herbs, straw and hay, with some citrus and bitter hop characters. Real personality here. 7/10

Revisionist Dark India Pale Ale
4.8% alcohol
Made by Jon Tillison and Dave Carter at Wychwood, dry hopped with chinook and citra. Full brown colour. Malty and warm but with fresh tangy citrus and herb hoppiness. Some bitter black chocolate notes too, and some floral characters. An odd beer that doesn’t quite know what to do with itself. 6/10

Revisionist Pacific Hop Red Ale
4.2% alcohol
Made by Simon Yates at Marston’s, hopped at four stages with Waimea and Pacific Gem. Red brown colour. Sweet, malty and quite rich with some warm herbiness and contrasting bitter hop notes, as well as a bit of roast coffee and chocolate. Despite the hops this is a slightly cowardly beer, a little afraid of flavour. 6.5/10

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Revisionist American Hop Rye Pale Ale
‘Craft brewed by Marston’s’ and dry hopped with Amarillo and Citra, made using rye crystal malt. Spicy and slightly toffeed, with a rich nose that has floral herby notes. There’s a hint of roast coffee on the savoury, tangy palate as well as some bright, spicy notes. Could do with more richness and hoppiness? 7/10

Revisionist Belgian Saison Beer
5% alcohol
Made by Marston’s, dry hopped with Styrian and Lubeski. This is interesting: it tastes Belgian, a bit like Leffe Blonde, with lovely spiciness and a rich, sweet core, coupled with bracing citrus freshness. Real interest. 7.5/10

Revisionist California Common Steam Beer
4.7% alcohol
Made by Marston’s. This is a lager fermented at higher temperatures to produce a sort of lager/ale hybrid. Gold/bronze colour. Simple, a bit spicy, with nice fresh hoppy bite and some malty richness. A bit boring. 5.5/10