An ENORMOUS Thank You to Dr. Bill of Stone Brewing for hosting an incredible Saison Saturday! In the sun-dappled gravel lounge on a breezy, blue-skied California afternoon, a hard-core group of beer enthusiasts sipped on Saisons and a knockout lineup of delicious beers. The song "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers comes to mind. (Remember I told you my life was a soundtrack.)
AND a big Thank You to New Brew Thursday and Chris Spradley, LA Craft Beer Examiner, for the honor of filming with them, and to everyone who came out to help me celebrate my approach to the finish line of my 100 beers. 30 days. challenge! It was a perfect Saturday!!
Saison Dupont: 6.5% ABV: Considered THE Saison of the world. Without debate, without challenge, this beer is lauded as the gold standard of Saisons. And there is a reason folks. It is a classic. Now, while my palate loves all the varieties Dupont now makes, it is THIS beer that began my love affair with Saisons. Refreshing and incredibly drinkable. Lemony citrus, white pepper, light yeast, fresh herbs, and light spice aromas and flavors. Nice mouthfeel with enough dryness on the finish to encourage drinking.
While I tend to lean toward richer, more flavorful Saisons these days(including a couple from Dupont I will later review), I will always enjoy and happily drink this beer. If there is anyone reading this that has not tried the Saison Dupont, hang your head and get to the store today.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The rest of the Saisons tried will be reviewed later as part of my Summer of Saisons and Sours. I ran out of numbers in my countdown!!
De Ranke Kriek (Fruit Lambic) 7% ABV: Mmm. Delicious. I have undoubtedly decided that I have become a big fan of De Ranke in this challenge. All three offerings, including the Cuvee, Bitter, and this beer, have been enjoyable, complex, and balanced. (I have yet to try Guldenberg, their Tripel)
This is also the beer that I savored every last sip as I somewhat nervously prepared for my impromptu filming with Chris. De Ranke Kriek calms the nerves. Write that down. CLICK HERE to see the video!
A beautiful ruby-pink color makes your eyes instantly happy. A wonderful blend of sour and cherry (fresh from Poland) on the nose with a follow-through on the palate and a drying finish that makes your mouth crave another sip. And according to the Shelton Brothers website (you HAVE to read the story on how this beer was made) it's a rare one. Only 1500 bottles made per year! So FIND yourself this beer and give it a whirl. I'm pretty sure you will be writing me to tell me you loved it.
BEER BONUS #1:
Scaldis Peche Mel, 8.5% ABV: Whoa! Smells like a Bellini, that famous Italian cocktail of Prosecco and peach puree. Vibrant, notes of peach and apricot on the nose. Palate of sweetened fresh fruit. This could easily be enjoyed as a brunch beer, with crepes and fruits, or like a dessert wine, with a creme brulee. While I could not drink much of this beer, it is something beer folks should try. In a small glass.
Malheur 10 (Strong Golden/Pale) 10% ABV: This beer is consistently on tap at one of my favorite hangouts, Encinitas Ale House, where like Cheers, I am greeted by name. I just love it. Like I said before, if you haven't checked this place out, do your beer-loving palate a favor and go. There is always something new on tap to try.
I always enjoy this beer, albeit not in large doses. Citurs, floral, yeast, bread dough, tree fruit, orange peel, and spice on the nose. The alcohol shows itself in the palate, along with the citrus and spice. A measured sweetness on the front end is thankfully aided with a dryness on the finish that helps you want to have another sip.
Side Note: With a few others in this list, there is some variation on the classification of Malheur 10. On varying sites it is listed as a Strong Golden, Strong Pale, and Tripel.
Malheur 12 (Quad/Strong Dark) 12% ABV: This fella is NOT messing around. Make your glass the heaviest thing you lift when drinking this beer. A lovely dark brown with an almond-colored head. Rich aromas of malt, maple syrup, roasted nuts, grain, dried fig and plum wrap the nose in a sensory blanket. On the palate, malty sweetness combined with a wonderful nuttiness and dark dried fruit. For a beer with this whopping alcohol, it is hidden well. There is a reason this is a beer-lover favorite. A must try!
Scaldis Refermentee (Strong Dark/Bruin) 12% ABV: Sweet maltiness on the nose and palate. Lots of maple syrup, toffee, brown sugar, baking spice, dates, and nuts present. A rich, caramel and malt palate, with aromas following through. Would pair nicely with a brown sugar crusted ham, caramel ice cream, or a simple plate of cheeses and dried fruits. It comes in a big bottle, making it perfect for sharing such delights. But beware, it packs a punch, so yes, share.
BEER BONUS #2:
Bill Sobieski's Mission Impecheable (Fruit Lambic): This beer was generously offered by homebrewer and Stone's own Bill Sobieski. What a glorious, vibrant nose! Like I'm standing in a farmhouse kitchen with a bowl of newly sliced peaches fresh from the orchard. Mmm! This is a beer I would like to smell first thing in the morning. Absolutely lovely nose. But here's where the magic comes in. A wonderfully sour yet balanced palate of yeast, spice, and fruit. Not sweet like the aromas might suggest, this beer has refreshing juxtaposition. I am looking forward to enjoying this beer again at Stone Sour Fest. Thank you Bill!!
Stay tuned for tomorrow's GRAND FINALE with Beers #99 and #100.... In the meantime, enjoy the slideshow!