Over the holidays I had the distinct pleasure of getting my hands on Boulevard Brewing’s Saison-Brett from their Smokestack Series. This beer was rated pretty high on BA and RB, so I didn’t mind dropping the cash on it. It was the holidays, and I had been working my way through many imperials, stouts, and porters. I was looking for something on the brighter side to shock my taste buds out from the dark roasted barley, wood, and bourbon shellacking they had been taking. I was a little worried about how much Brett “twang” was going to be in there, but this delicious Saison was definitely the beer I was looking for.
I originally poured the beer into a shaker pint, but the head was so gaseous that it took up over half the glass. I changed over to an Orval glass, and was really gentle, resulting in a better pour (below). The aroma is clean Saison … a bit of spice, with light fruit aromas.
I have to admit that I thought I hated this beer on the first sip. It wasn’t the Brettanomyces, but it had more to do with a palate that was not quite ready. I was hit up front with musty flavors and an astringency that I was not expecting. I decided to have an unsalted cracker to cleanse and try again. Oh my!
The carbonation was heavy, but not too much. The flavors were the spicy esters and (pleasant this time) just-musty flavors you’d expect in a farmhouse Saison. The flavor has hints of peaches and tangerines with a solid bitterness that hits next. The clean finish is just underscored by the Brett tang. I was wondering when I was going to pick up the Brett, and I absolutely love the subtle use of it. There’s not much sweetness here. Just a great balance between Brett, spice, clean malt, and solid bitterness.
I’m sure that this beer will develop more Brett character over time, so the balance may not be where it currently is for much longer. That being said, what an enjoyable beer. If you want to treat yourself to something a bit off the beaten path, check this one out!