I have been invited by the proprietor of this fine site to submit guest blogs from time to time. What other topic would I possibly blog about but beer. I am a bit of a beer geek and enjoy trying unusual beers and styles brewed both here in the US and imports as well. As it happens, Philadelphia is one of the best beer cities in the country. Not only are there a huge amount of restaurants with massive beer lists, but there are a number of excellent local craft breweries that are really brewing some excellent stuff.
They recently put up a brand new Whole Foods right down the street from us. What does that have to do with beer, you ask? Well, this particular Whole Foods happens to have a bar in it. And not only will they fill your growler with excellent local beers at very reasonable prices, but they stock a pretty nice selection of craft brews and imports that you can buy as singles or six packs (not an easy thing to find in PA). Bear with me; I am getting to the actual review at some point here.
Now, with that said, let’s get to it. A couple weeks ago I picked up an entry from a craft brewery in Massachusetts called Pretty Things. The beer is called Jack D’Or. This beer would roughly be categorized as a Saison, which is sometimes also referred to as a Farmhouse Ale. Beer Advocate defines a Saison as follows:
Saisons are sturdy farmhouse ale that was traditionally brewed in the winter, to be consumed throughout the summer months. Not so long ago it was close to being an endangered style, but over recent years there's been a massive revival; especially in the US. This is a very complex style; many are very fruity in the aroma and flavor. Look for earthy yeast tones, mild to moderate tartness. Lots of spice and with a medium bitterness. They tend to be semi-dry with many only having touch of sweetness.
While that definition is not a grammatical home run, you get the idea. A textbook saison is fairly light and refreshing, not overly bitter, with a bit of a tangy bite that comes from the Belgian yeast strains that are usually used. This is a fairly unusual beer style, with not that many prime examples out there. The gold standard being Saison DuPont, brewed in Belgium. Now this is not typically one of my more favorite beer styles, as I generally prefer beers with bolder flavor profiles, but this beer had been reviewed excellently in Beer Advocate and it has an awesome label, so I picked up one at Whole Foods when I saw it the other week.
I was very impressed with this beer. It was very refreshing and surprisingly complex. There are hints of citrus and spice and a very balanced flavor. The hops are noticeable, but not right up in your face. There are hints of spices in there as well, but this is pretty subtle and very well done. This is the best saison that I have ever had. I would recommend it highly to anyone, and this is a good beer for people who aren’t huge beer geeks that like really strong and hoppy beers. This is a great example of a small local craft brewer who is clearly in it because he loves beer and is coming up with some really interesting stuff. The beer is sold in 22 ounce bottles for about 6 bucks.
Tune in this weekend for home brewing with locally grown ingredients!