Saturday, March 16, 2013

Epic Brewing Company - Sour Apple Saison

When breweries try new ingredients, the results can be mixed. Some breweries try new ideas that some like they should work but don't (see: Voodoo Donut Maple Bacon Ale). And some breweries try new ideas that sound like they shouldn't work, but do (see: Campfire Stout). So when you spot a beer with a new ingredient, you can never really be sure of what you're getting.

A few weeks ago, a wave of Epic Brewing Company's beers hit the shelves at a local store, Texas Wine and Spirits. I've had some good experiences with Epic beers in the past, so I decided I'd give one of them a try. The one that caught my eye right away was their Sour Apple Saison. Sour apples are a new ingredient for me, and the combination of the apples and the light body and spice of a saison seemed like a match made in heaven. It was a no brainer for me. Or so I thought.

Sour Apple Saison pours an intensely hazy golden color with a thin white head. The head may have been small (easy, dirty thinkers...) but it coated the glass with thick tracks of lace after every sip. Swirling the beer a bit brought dense aromas of Belgian yeast, a TON of coriander, sage, and a big, tart wheat aroma. The apple aroma was there, but it had almost a candied, Laffy-Taffy like scent, rather than the natural sour apple smell I was hoping for.

The Belgian yeast is the first taste to hit as well, and it really takes this beer over in a hurry. The sweetness is a bit overwhelming and there's really nothing else in the flavor to stand up to it. Some faint green apple skin, chardonnay, white grape juice, lemon hard candy and ginger notes do creep through the yeast a bit, but they don't have nearly enough muscle to stand up to the sweetness of the Belgian yeast. I think the bigger problem in this beer is that it's too big. It checks in at 8%, which isn't outrageous, but is pretty high for a beer with flavors that should be delicate. This isn't a bad beer by any means, but, for me at least, it didn't live up to the promise or potential of the name. I'll file this away in the "Great idea. Poor execution." folder.

Final Grade: C

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 114

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