As we draw near the end of this series of posts reporting our experiences of tasting British-brewed saisons, we’ve abandoned any attempt at theming: the only thing these last two have in common is that we bought them both from Beer Ritz.
Before we get down to our brief tasting notes, here’s a reminder of what this is all about: we want to have a short list of three we can wholeheartedly recommend. So, while ‘Do we like it?’ is a good starting point, whether other people might like it is also important and, in practice, that means we’re not after madly left-field interpretations.
- Durham Brewery Raspbeery [sic] Saison, 5.6% ABV, 500ml @ £4.20.
- Weird Beard Saison 14, 6%, 500ml @ £3.52.
Continue reading Saisons Pt 8: The Last Two
It’s official: thanks to Lucy Britner at Just Drinks we now know that Sharp’s Doom Bar — the bottled stuff, at least — has been being brewed outside Cornwall since 2013.
From the moment Molson-Coors bought out Sharp’s in 2011 people down here in Cornwall have been wondering how long it would be before production moved to Burton-upon-Trent. Others assumed it had already happened and that there was slyness afoot. One local source even told us they’d heard a Sharp’s brewer dropping big hints about it last year.
Now the cat’s out of the bag, what does it mean?
In a part of the world where the act of buying local is highly politicised it might create opportunities for other Cornish brewers to supply restaurants, supermarkets, delicatessens and bars which have, until now, been happy with bottled Doom Bar.
In reality, though, we suspect it will take months for most people to clock this news and, even then, many won’t care — it’s a popular beer which presumably sells to the trade at a competitive price and it’s still Cornish-ish, right?
But if we ran a business and had for the last two years been buying those bottles on the understanding that the beer was Cornish-made — and probably pitching it to our customers as such — we’d be pretty annoyed.
We came to this story via the Western Morning News and are grateful to Kev Head for pointing us to the original source.
We asked Sharp’s the following question on Twitter but have yet to get a reply despite prodding:
As our stash of UK-brewed saisons runs low, it gets harder to find a connecting theme: what this last bunch have in common, at least according to their labels, is the absence of headlining (important word) herbs and spices.
All of this batch, as it happens, were provided to us free of charge by online retailer Beer Hawk:
- Wiper & True ‘The Breeze’ — 3.5% ABV, 500ml, usually £2.79.
- Otley Saison Obscura — 5.5%, 500ml, usually £2.79.
- Bad Seed Saison — 6%, 330ml, usually £2.59.
We first encounted ‘nomadic’ brewers Wiper & True not long after they had started up in 2012 when Bailey’s brother picked up a gift set of their beers. We’ve tried various of their brews since and haven’t quite been convinced, though we’ve found them far better on draught in Bristol than in bottles at home. This one-off saison is part of a series and has an admirably detailed label which looks as if it ought to be attached to a clipboard in a hospital, providing information on hop varieties, malts and even which yeast strain has been used — ‘House saison blend’.
Continue reading Saisons Pt 6: Relatively Twist Free
This is the first single brewery post in our series of saison taste-offs, in which we consider two beers from Somerset’s Wild Beer Company.
Back in 2012, the Wild Beer Co were brand new and making waves thanks to savvy use of social media and a compelling story: they planned to harvest the same wild yeast that ferments Somerset scrumpy cider and use it to produce British beer with a Belgian twist. We first tried what was then their flagship, Epic Saison, in Bristol and loved it, not least because, believe it or not, there weren’t many UK-brewed saisons around back then.
Continue reading Saisons Pt 5: Smiling Somerset
For this week’s saison-tasting session, we decided to tackle two beers from breweries with heavy reputations: BrewDog and Burning Sky.
We were sent both as samples by the breweries but…
- BrewDog Electric India — 5.2% ABV, 330ml, £1.80 at their online store (when it’s in stock).
- Burning Sky Saison à la Provision — 6.7%, 330ml, at, e.g., Beer Gonzo for £3.95. (Also available in 750ml corked bottles.)
We had vague recollections of trying BrewDog’s saison last year, on keg at their Camden bar, and finding it ‘quite good’. The flame-coloured label and customarily hyperbolic copy suggest that it ought to have been more memorable:
An unholy union between a Belgian Saison and an India Pale Ale… A lightning bolt of awesome that resuscitates your tastebuds… Electric India is a hoppy saison brewed with lashings of heather honey, crushed black pepper corns and enthusiastically hopped with mountains of Amarillo and Nelson Sauvin.
Unholy! Lightning bolts! Lashings! Mountains! Boy howdy!
Continue reading Saisons Pt 4: Big Names