Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Bruery - Saison Rue Review

Brewery: The Bruery (CA)
Style: Saison / Sour
ABV: 8.5%
Grade: A-

Saison Rue is a primarily a saison, yes. Its name and simple label don't give much hint as to what else is on going here, as this isn't really "just" a saison — it's also got some rye action (yay!) and a hint of brett* (ooooooh!). These attributes are mentioned in small print on the label, but they are the reason I got this beer out of all the many beers I could have gotten. And it does not disappoint.

One of my goals over the next few months is to try more saisons. Saisons have only recently seen a resurgence after lingering as a nearly-extinct style for a long time. More and more breweries are putting their own spin on the style these days, but it's fairly uncommon to see a saison on tap at most bars, and bottled versions tend to only come in expensive bombers. As a result, I often go a while in between trying them, long enough that I have a hard time comparing one to the other. But this is fairly spot-on for what I expect of the style, with a few tweaks. Saisons are somewhat funky and tart to begin with, so the sour character of brett compliments them very, very well. The sourness is more of an after-taste here, never really taking command of the flavor, but that works. It actually just sort of highlights the best parts of the tart, spicy, peppery saison taste. Rye, too, is an obvious asset to the style, as it adds its own complex complimentary character. The three together make for a very interesting beer that tastes pretty far removed from all other styles.

Also, this one is 8.5% ABV, which is rather high for a traditional saison. As a result, I believe it's a bit less subtle, but there's a fullness and richness here that makes its own case.

Funtime Bonus: Try saying "The Bruery Saison Rue Review" ten times fast, after drinking a bottle of The Bruery's Saison Rue. Go ahead. I'll wait.

*Brettanomyces is a type of yeast different from "normal" brewing yeast, as it would generally be considered an "infection" in most beers. It creates a sour, funky taste over time, which it turns out is very desirable under the right circumstances. Brett is a very interesting little organism that I plan to write more about in the future.

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