Saturday, 5 May 2012

Summer Wine Brewery Lime & Coriander Saison

Good evening all. Today I decided to travel up to London to acquire a few bottles from the Utobeer stand at Borough Market and generally kill some time walking around one of my favourite cities. I even had time to pay a visit to The Draft House Tower Bridge, where I finally tried Camden Town Brewery Wheat for the first time- absolutely stunning wheat beer that could easily be mistaken for a classic hefeweizen, it's that good! Of course there was also time for a half of Camden Ink after my food, and I left for Guildford with a bag full of new bottles and a feeling of complete satiation (both food- and beer-wise). Tonight's blog post concerns one of the bottles I picked up- Lime & Coriander Saison, a Saison from Summer Wine Brewery (Holmfirth, Yorkshire). This brewery has been garnering a lot of positive feedback over the last few months, and today I decided to pick up one of their offerings to see whether the hype was justified. Review after the pic....

Lime & Coriander Saison (6.0% ABV) pours a golden colour with a thick white head that retains itself well throughout drinking. There's plenty of lacing present and a very generous stream of bubbles constantly supporting the head- looks fantastic already! The aroma is very similar to a traditional saison only more subdued, with some mustiness, a herbal quality, some spiciness from the coriander and a light bittering hop aroma. The lime is very noticeable on the first inhale, retreating somewhat in subsequent draws but still present among the hoppy aromas. The coriander provides aromas that are very reminiscent of yeast-derived phenols and earthy esters, except without the volatility that gives these qualities enhanced body in traditional Saisons. It reminds me of a slightly spicy lager on the nose, with the hops and slightly sweet malt aromas juxtaposed against the herb additions and the lime acidity adding an extra dimension to the proceedings. Interesting stuff, not overpowering but enough there to fit the intended style. Tasting the beer brings up more of the spiciness and lime acidity, accompanied by a malty sweetness, grassy flavours and some bittering hops in the background. The finish continues the spice encountered during drinking, with the lime tartness coming through more substantially without the malt and hops getting in the way. The use of the coriander to replicate the Belgian yeast spiciness is definitely interesting, but without the phenols acting as a medium for the spiciness and to add more body, the flavours can cloy on the palette after a while and can seem one-dimensional. The mouthfeel is quite light and the beer starts off heavily carbonated but diminishes in the latter stages of drinking. Overall, a good attempt at replicating the characteristic flavours of a Saison, but unfortunately it can taste a bit thin without the phenols and the other yeast-derived aromas and flavours that make this beer style so unique. Regardless, it's still got a solid malt base, a good balance between the herbal additions and the earthy qualities of the hops, and it is a very drinkable beer. I don't think I'd get this again, but I would definitely like to try more offerings from Summer Wine in the future based on the unanimously positive feedback I've read over the last few months. Worth a try, but it's probably best to stick with the more authentic examples of this style. 

Until next time....

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