Left Hand Saison aux Baies Ameres

Left-Hand-Saison-Aux-Baies-AmeresThe Left Hand Brewery in Longmont, Colorado opened for business on January 22, 1994. Started by college buddies Dick Doore and Eric Wallace, the idea first came to light when Dick received a home brewing kit from his brother in the early 1990’s. Their first attempt was Sawtooth Ale, which has since become Left Hand’s most popular brew. Today, Doore and Wallace make over 3 dozen beers, distributed in 29 states.

Pour: A light pinkish hue, with mild carbonation.

Head: Very thin and airy, disappears quickly without leaving anything behind.

Nose: Pretty standard farmhouse aromas, mostly wheat with a little fruit on the end.

Palate: Dry and crisp, lighter than one might expect. Not as much wheat from the nose, there is some hint of cherry on the end but very mild. Finish is clean with some acidity.

Overall: Much lighter than other Saisons I’ve had a lately. Not as much spice and would have enjoyed a little more fruit but still an easy summer sipper. A nice pairing with roasted chicken, Middle Eastern food or creamy style cheeses.

Holiday Guide to Belgian Beers

Belgian Beer has a history that dates back to the 12th century. It is believed that over 1,000 different beers are produced in Belgium today. Beer Hunter Michael Jackson referred to Belgium as “the most colorful of all brewing nations.” Many of Belgium’s artful offerings are exported for sale in the United States, but when shopping for Belgian beers, what’s what? Before using our palates to explore the vast world of Belgian beer let’s start by gaining a little knowledge about a few of the styles in the market place.

Belgian White – Also known as Witbier or Bière Blanch, these are very pale beers made from unmalted wheat and are typically hazy in appearance. They are known for their crisp wheat character and traditional notes of orange peel and coriander.

Fruit Lambic – A wheat beer made with wild yeast. The fruit is added about halfway through the fermentation process yielding a strong fruit flavor. Kriek (cherry) and Framboise (raspberry) are the most common Lambic flavors. Most fruit Lambics are sweet unless they are marked by the term “oud.” This “old style” Lambic has a profile that shows a distinct sourness.

Gueuze – Also a type of Lambic, Gueuze is a blend of young and old Lambics. Showing a sour note and funky yeast profile, these Lambics are not fruity. The blending of Gueuze is an art form and the finished product show great complexity.

Saison – Also commonly referred to as “Farmhouse” Ale, Saison beers are known for their fruity esters on the nose. Traditionally, a blend of herbs and spices are adding during brewing that results in a citrusy or fruity flavor.

Dubbel – A dark amber brown beer with a lot of rich, roasted malt flavors. They can be somewhat spicy and with fruity characteristics.

Trippel – A big beer usually golden in color with notes of spice, fruit, and honey. This style is often shows more bitterness than many others. This is necessary to balance all the strong malt presence.

Quadrupel – Also known as ABT Ales, are usually deep reddish-brown in color with a robust malty flavor profile and a high alcohol content which is often well disguised.

While there are many other styles of Belgian beers out there, these seven dominate over 90% of the marketplace in the United States. The diversity of these styles ensures that every beer lover will find a something that matches their personal tastes.

In the next few weeks our beer blog will be dedicated to tasting our way through some of the beers Belgium has to offer. Op uw gezondheid!

The Bruery Saison Rue

The Bruery Saison RueThe Bruery’s Saison Rue pours a hazy amber with a voluminous white head. The head sits atop the beer until you’ve consumed every last drop of liquid and the foam that remains clings to the side of the glass like Velcro. There is a veritable forest of bubbles rising up from the bottom of the beer, indicating a fair amount of carbonation. The label reads ‘Belgian Style Ale Brewed with Rye and Brettanomyces’. While the Brettanomyces are not uncommon ingredients in Belgian Farmhouse ales, rye is a somewhat less expected addition.

The nose gives off a variety of fragrances, among them pepper, brettanomyces funk, rye bread, grass, earth, banana and green apples. It’s a surprisingly fruity aroma, not quite as earthy as is typical of saisons.

There’s a good deal of lively carbonation, but that’s to be expected given the amount of visible CO2 rising through the beer. The beer itself is medium-bodied, crisp and smooth.

The rye lends Saison Rue an added bit of spiciness that complements the peppery notes well. The funk that comes with the use of brettanomyces is present throughout, but not the primary focus. It’s surprisingly fruity, with the banana and green apple notes from the nose coming through in the taste of the beer with some dark fruits thrown in for good measure. The robust malt backbone provides some sweetness and allows the Saison Yeast and Brettanomyces full effect.

This is perhaps the best saison I’ve had occasion to sample. It’s a particularly complex entry in an already complex style. The rye and brettanomyces really add something special to the beer and I can’t recommend it highly enough.4.5 out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Pints

If You Liked This Try: Saison DuPont, The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel, Orval

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory.