Tag Archives: saison

7pm A Matter of Taste

“My favorite is the Stillwater/Brewer’s Art Debutante,’ the bartender says and I trust him. “I hate it when my favorite beer is the most expensive one but…”

Hey, sometimes it’s like that. What’re you going to do? Sometimes: knuckle up and try the saison.

But it isn’t working for me. I don’t hate it but I don’t like it either. If I’m recommending this beer to you, why am I doing that? Despite claiming ingredients like honeysuckle and hyssop and heather (see how clever that is!) I couldn’t tell you why they bothered. I don’t get a particularly herbal vibe from this beer; the yeasts have done their job, this is a saison. Period.

And for this I paid $6.50 for less than a pint.

I don’t blame anyone but me for this: I should’ve asked for a taste. It’s not like I couldn’t get one. Buyer beware, you know?

Sometimes you gotta take a leap though. It can’t always pay off.

I’m alone tonight; a rarity, of late. Usually I’m fortunate enough to have some pals around to play Magic with and that creates a sub-atmosphere in Bailey’s, if you will, where some of the outside is tuned out so I can visit with my friends. Now, I can just relax and absorb the place and I like that, too.

There probably isn’t enough contemplation in the world. Chilling out for a little while with a beer by yourself, not having to think about much of anything, this isn’t a bad way to spend an hour. I wonder how much calmer people might be if they were allowed such luxuries.

Probably not much but what the hell: It’s not a bad dream, is it?

Gigantic visit

The girlfriend and I were able to visit Gigantic Brewing last weekend on what was a rapidly cooling evening. But we got there in time to try out a couple of different beers, before having to head out and get food.

I had a pale-but I didn’t get to write down the name and it’s not on the website. I can’t be responsible for everything damnit! I’m only mostly professional.

What I do remember is that there was a hint of dryness that hit the top of my mouth, arriving at the end. It was a really drinkable beer which had a distinctness that I enjoyed: I’d have to test but it did seem like there was something distinctive about this pale that didn’t mine the traditional style. Need more to fully validate this statement.

I also split the black saison, which I remember because the style was in the name. This was also a tasty brew and artfully dodged the occasional oversweetness that hits many belgian styles. I’m not sure if that’s because there were some dark malts countering it, or just because they designed it that way and it’s damn good.

But I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it’s by design. I look forward to many more pints from Gigantic in the future.

One up, one down

I went to Apex last Friday, on a very short pubcrawl meant to start my own celebrations during March. I like Apex as a space, I just can’t ever get there enough and I can’t justify bringing cardplayers to that joint because the music (which I like-Yay Motorhead!) is too loud and the space itself is too dark, dominated by a giant flatscreen on which I ‘got’ to view NASCAR/Motocross events. So. Yeah.

Which just leaves the beer; a broad variety that is a little bit overpriced. Nothing obscene but it means that I want whatever I select to be worth it. I go with Evil Twin‘s Ryan and the Beaster Bunny, which is a saison of some sort. The name is a hoot and I’ve never heard of them before so let’s see what they’ve got.

My first impressions  are not very positive; lemony, maybe a little banana there and then dirty, like gravel dust. So I wait: sometimes these beers need to warm up, you know?

Ten minutes later, I’m drinking something that tastes like a rock’s butthole. If that isn’t a sign to move on, I don’t know what is.

On the plus side, I went to the Firkin Tavern later where I had two Boneyard double IPAs. It reminded me a bit of a Ladd’s Addition version of Roscoe’s, with the dive bar pedigree and the chalkboard beer list. Which is to say: I totally dug the place.

Also, the double IPA was good too, so the evening ended on a high point.

Out and about again

While in Seattle last, I asked where I should go to meet someone for a pint and I was told to check out Naked City Brewing. Got there right after they opened at four and I’m glad we arrived early. The place didn’t get crowded but a steady stream of customers arrived quickly and I could tell that this was a spot that could get hopping in the evenings.

I tried the Amarillo by Morning and the Pompatus of Love, the former a single hop IPA, the latter a peach saison and I liked them both.

The Amarillo by Morning had the ‘flaw’ that I’d noticed in the singletons I’d made recently; nothing very subtle about the beer. The hops came right up, smacked me in the mouth and said; yeah, I’m alone; whatcha gonna do about it? It was a lighter ale, so I think the hop element was bound to be front and center and there wasn’t much counterbalance to the beer. A good ale but one I wanted some accompaniment with- food would have been fine too- just so I could appreciate any nuances (if any) about the Amarillo by Morning.

The Pompatus of Love was a nice spin on the Saison style. The peach sweetness helped take the edge off the dryness of the beer and I think I would’ve had another, if I hadn’t been in a hurry to try as many beers as I could.

On top of this, it was happy hour-each of us ordered three drinks (though after my first pint I switched to schooners and so did my companions) and one pretzel was ordered but for three people we got out of there for under $25. I’d consider recommending Naked City just because of that-but with tasty beer and some good vittles? I’m going back next time. And you can’t stop me.

On the way home, I met up with Fuz at a Tacoma joint called The Spar. Good place; nice view of the water and the home made chips are just outstanding. Especially with a little garlic sauce.

While there I tried Maritime’s Imperial Pale Ale, and I have to say; I wasn’t enamored. It wasn’t bad but I couldn’t get into it either. It may be that I just wasn’t ready for an imperial before eating lunch. They have a brewery in Seattle proper so I’ll have to swing by and give them a shot.


wheat wine and dubbelSo I had the Laughing Dog St. Benny’s Labbey ale, made in the dubbel style, and liked it. At first it smells like champagne; only after it’s warmed up do malts come through. It’s quite bubbly in the mouth with a sweetness cut by a white wine kind of floralness. Knowing no better, I’d suggest that this beer has quite a bit in common with champagne.

Natian is actually pronounced ‘nation’. It said so on the beer coaster. Their winter IPA is damn tasty, which means they’re 2 for 2 with me. Plus, they have a website now! Congrats.
saison with lemon
Dear Broadway Grill: quit putting lemon in your saison. It’s a wonderful beer and you’re dumbing it down and insulting your audience by doing so. This rule is not hard and fast but it’s still a pretty good one: fruit does not belong as a compliment to beer.

We tasted a bunch of pale/amber ales at the last taste test. The big surprise was that everyone was fond of Sierra Nevada’s pale ale. The personal surprise was that I couldn’t pull Deschutes’ Mirror Pond out of that group; I used to drink that beer all the time and it’s always been my default beer when nothing else appealed to me.

Headwounds and other hazards of homebrewing

Today’s batch was for a saison, because I’ll be going on vacation in a few weeks and I’m told that this yeast wants to be left alone for four to six weeks in secondary. I figure I can leave it and forcibly forget about it, due to not being home.

Saison yeast at the ready

The basics go fine; a half-pound of Caramunich steeped for about thirty minutes, eight pounds light malt extract, one pound wheat malt extract, and about an ounce and a half of Hallertauer hops sixty minutes, another half an ounce at five minutes, we’re good! The OG came to about 1.10, and all I have to do is add the yeast that Joe, a fellow brewcrew member was kind enough to give me from his saison, and first step is done.

Now, like many homebrewers, part of my brewing setup is in the basement-or some other semi-safe environment like a garage or the Roman Colosseum. So, after boiling wort for an hour, I have to haul the three and a half gallons down to the basement to cool it off. The basement is, for a man of my height, a headache in the making. Metal ducts, wooden crossbeams, and light fixtures are all at the exact height to incur headaches for me.

So far only the ducts have taken their blood payment, but today it was the day for light fixtures. I was cleaning up when I walked full on into the lightblub and shattered glass everywhere. Fortunately the wort was sealed tight far away from the accident, but I still put this on the ‘list of things not to do again’.