Saturday, September 29, 2012

Great Lakes Brewery - 25th Anniversary Belgian Saison

ABV 6.5% (Bottle 750ml)

Great Lakes Brewery

The Bottle

Belgian Saison Ales were also known as "Farmhouse Ales". They were simple country beer brewed on self-sufficient farms created as a matter of necessity for farm hands. Our Saison is a distinctive version that features a classic Belgian Saison yeast as well as Coriander, Pepper and Grains of Paradise. These ingredients come together to create a refreshing, spicy and subtly fruity flavour. You can enjoy this beer immediately or cellar it for up to a year.

The Pour
This brew pours golden and clear with a one finger head that clings to the sides of the glass around a cloudy centre.

Aroma
You can definitely smell the light aromas of Belgian yeast which brings with them notes of bubblegum, dried plummy fruit and also some welcome hints of brighter fruit as well.

Taste
The bubblegum carries over from the nose, as it does in many Belgian beers, and there is some very faint spiciness from the coriander, pepper and grains of paradise.  If you've tried Sam Adams Summer Ale, this saison shares a similar flavor profile, but is fairly toned down which I suppose makes sense, since a saison is a simple farmhouse beer.  I was expecting a little more pepper or hop kick; as it was, these flavors were barely there.

Overall
If we are going on style, I think this brew hits its mark.  The yeast is the star here and imparts the most flavor and aroma in a style that is meant to be simple and refreshing.  However, since all the spices were also included I was expecting a bit more excitement.  I'm not sure I would have found them if they weren't advertised on the bottle.

I give it a solid B.  With a few bonus points for Great Lakes experimenting with some old world styles for their anniversary.

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