Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Boulevard Brewing Company - Saison-Brett

Throughout my life, I've gone through a different phase pretty much every summer. I can't really remember what my first few summers were like (though I'm fairly certain the summer of Year 1 was devoted to pooping in inappropriate places while my mom looked at me and said, "Really?" and the summer of Year 2 was probably devoted to chasing my dog and trying to grab her tail), but the summers I CAN remember have been fantastic. I've always lived near the beach, so most of my summers growing up were spent there. There was a summer where all I did was bodyboard, followed by a summer where all I did was skimboard. Then there was a summer where all I did was golf (which probably wasn't the best way to spend a summer because I mainly golfed in the San Fernando Valley, where summer temperatures range from "hellish" to "Dear God, the paint is melting off my car!"). And then there's this summer, which I'm officially declaring the "Summer of Saisons."

"Summer of Saisons" might be a little redundant, because the style was traditionally brewed to be enjoyed by farmworkers during hot summer months when clean water wasn't exactly as easy to come by as it is now. Still, I think it has a nice ring to it, and I'm definitely in the middle of a huge saison kick, so that's what I'm sticking with. I started the summer by drinking a boatload of saisons (some of which you'll see on here very soon), but there was one in particular that I really wanted to get my hands on- Boulevard's Saison-Brett. As the name would imply, it's a saison that uses the volatile Brettanomyces strain of yeast. At #116, here's Saison-Brett.

Saison-Brett pours an absolutely beautiful glowing golden color with a monster bone-white head. The retention was insane. The head stuck around forever, finally retreating just a touch so I could try the beer itself. The smell was about as fantastic as I've ever come across in a saison. I picked up a mix of musty wet hay and straight up barnyard (from the Brettanomyces), coupled with juicy notes of mango, lemongrass, lemon pepper, pear and a faint spicy note.

The taste opens with some wet hay and faint wheat, then lays a blanket of buttery-smooth malt and funk across your palate. Given all the fruit in the aroma, I was expecting a lot of sweetness in the flavor, but it never really showed up. Instead, I got grass, pepper, lemon zest, some underripe pear and a dry and peppery hop drawl on the finish. And it was fantastic. Everything in this saison worked together beautifully. Brett isn't the easiest thing to handle, but it was money in this beer, lending just the right amount of funk. Despite it's high ABV for the style (Saison-Brett clocks in at a pretty beefy 8.5%), this thing drank like a dream. The "Summer of Saisons" may be in full force, but it's going to be tough to top this one.

Final Grade: A+

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 129

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