SOMETHING OF A BAIT AND SWITCH, but a pleasing product in its own right. Despite a substantial dry-hopping and plenty of Citra and Simcoe, the first impressions of this Oklahoman Saison are more traditional than expected—a moderately musty aroma with some lemon and other slightly exotic fruits, hay, and a firm Belgian yeast at its core. A bountiful and delicate white head, bubbles quite fine, sits atop a murky honey-colored body that might almost pass for unfiltered cider. But once tasted, the American twists begin to show: a grassy hop core that pushes the yeasts to the background, a slightly fuller body than usual, but plenty enough carbonation to leave the finish feeling relatively dry, especially for a style that tends not to sweep up after itself too neatly. Indeed, the finish is perhaps too clean for this beer to really leave a strong lingering impression, but at least it refrains from the overly sweet saturations or unnecessarily high ABVs that some other American efforts at peripheral Belgian styles mistake for admirable boldness. The 7% ABV is spot-on for a balance of back-end prickle and satiety, and fruit flavors of peach and a bit of apricot also frame the hop centerpiece well. And yet it seems a little self-defeating to craft a “hop-driven Saison” that suppresses the style’s most distinctive qualities. This is the American way, though: gorge upon and then tire of standard pale ales, discover a new style, study it, embrace it–and then smother it in hops. Pass the A1.
Served: 750 cl bottle