Monday, November 4, 2013

Prairie Artisan Ales - 'Merica Saison Review

Brewery: Prairie Artisan Ales (OK)
Style: Saison
ABV: 7.5%
Grade: A

Even for someone who spends half their day reading about beer and the beer industry (as I do), it's interesting how fast breweries can come out of nowhere these days. Well, seemingly out of nowhere — momentum is a curious, intangible thing (though I'm sure there are many entrepreneurial speakers out there offering lectures and books on leveraging it for disruptive best-of-breed ideation). To most of us, these things seem to happen overnight. Earlier this year, I was in a brewshop in Portland, ME, and a bottle of Praire Ale caught my eye with its killer label art. Fast forward a couple months later, and their buzz is pretty much everywhere.

I figured 'Merica was a good beer to review first, as it seems to capture a nice cross-section of what Praire is all about: a simple-recipe saison with one malt, a farmhouse yeast blend, and a boisterous background of Nelson Sauvin hops bursting big fruity colors all up in your face. (Too bad Nelson clashes with the theme, being a New Zealand hop... should have gone with Mosaic, guys!) In case you coudln't tell by the label, this isn't meant to resemble a traditional saison. Fine with me; I feel that tradition is a nice framework, but no reason to pass over some ingredient that may not have even existed when the style was formed. Who can argue with something as loveable as Nelson Sauvin? Observe: the dank fruitiness of this unique hop pairing with the grassy hay of saison yeast, waking up to the dewy, ripe leftovers of Brettanomyces. It's truly a wonder-trio at work here.

Anyone who has ever questioned the use of farmhouse yeast with new-age hops needs to try 'Merica. Not sure what makes this beer particularly patriotic, but I'll sure be drinking some next 4th of July.

Availability: Rotating release, for the moment. 16 ounce bottle.


  1. I was lucky enough to find this beer again in Portland as well... I'm saving it to compare to my clone attempt. I feel like the bottle I had in San Diego may have been fairly new, because I don't remember the Brett character being TOO up-front... don't get me wrong, it was there, but the Nelson seemed to dominate.

    1. Completely agree, I actually wasn't totally positive that there was Brett in this before talking to you about it. It's a nice background funk... it would be interesting to see it come out over time, though it'd be sad to see the Nelson fade.

    2. Yeah... I think I'd be more interested in fresher Nelson character than a greater Brett presence at the expense of the Nelson.

  2. This is probably my favorite new beer of 2013, I didnt pick up on the Brett either but I would imagine it would develop with age. I may need to try to clone this beer like Shawn.

  3. We've been getting Prairie for a few months here in Dallas and I'd imagine our bottles/kegs come in pretty fresh. Very little brett character comes through.


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