Southampton Publick House - Cuvée des Fleurs

Southampton Publick House - Cuvée des Fleurs

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club

Style:

Strong Specialty Ale

Country:

United States

Alcohol by Volume:

8.20%

Southampton Publick House - Cuvée des Fleurs

  • Alcohol by Volume: 8.20%
  • Bottle Size: No
  • Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
  • Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass, Tulip, or Oversized Wine Glass
Ah, another mysterious “Cuvée”… What does it mean? The term comes from the French word “cuve”, meaning vat or tank. In general, these are wines that have been blended from several batches to achieve a particular flavor. When applied to beer, the term is more nebulous. In some cases it simply implies that this is a wine-like (vinous) brew. It may be a blend of different batches, and perhaps even some or all of those batches were aged in wood. It is not a style, and doesn’t necessarily tell you much about what you can expect, but in most cases, this will be a French-like or Belgian-y ale of some sort. Southampton’s Cuvée des Fleurs is brewed as a Saison, flavored with a variety of edible flowers, including L. angustifolia (lavender), A. nobilis (chamomile), C. officinalis (Calendula, or pot marigold), Rose hips and a generous amount of H. lupulus (hops, which are flowers too of course!). Calendula petals have been used in ointments that supposedly cured skin irritations, jaundice, sore eyes, and toothaches. Chamomile and lavender are used in aromatherapy as calming agents to end stress and aid in sleep. Rose hips are frequently used to treat symptoms of osteoarthritis. So, drink enough of this stuff and you will have clear, non-yellow skin, avoid a trip to the dentist, no more arthritic pain, and will feel free of stress and ready for bed!*

Pours a deep straw color, capped by a small but sufficient just off white head. Smells like a saison should, with perhaps a bit more earthiness than your average sample. Expect big yeastiness and hints of banana. It’s quite herbal, a bit tea-like (chamomile) in aroma, with suggestions of dandelions and not surprisingly, lavender. Look for a honeyed malt sweetness that keeps things from getting overly herbal; all makes for a very inviting bouquet. There’s a slight suggestion of cannabis as well (provided by its botanical cousin, hops), and as it warms, it kicks up a soft peachiness. The first sip needs a few moments for the complex floral cavalcade to fully unfurl. We’ve had beers with flowers in them before, but nothing nearly this complex. Starts with nice malt sweetness, then jumps to a minty, almost mentholated spiciness, followed by a very herbal, flowery, stem-like, musky blend. Quite a ride! It does taste like eating flowers, and if you’ve never eaten flower petals (we tasters just do things like that), this is your chance. Expect medicinal, very forwardly powerful phenolic flourishes, rose water, cloves and white pepper. Finishes with suggestions of fresh ginger, cardamom and coriander, as well as quite a bit of alcohol warmth as it warms. Brewer Phil Markowski was not bashful in his addition of these edible plants, and as a result, they’re very forward in the flavor, becoming very tincture-like at times. This could have ended up being a train wreck, but in the skilled hands of an artist brewmaster, it is instead very smartly assembled and a rare work of art. Think well-hopped gruit (we realize that’s a contradiction in terms, but it’s not far off). Complex, very intriguing and an exceptionally unusual experience that we can’t recommend highly enough. A beautiful botanical beer with bravado and balance.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. ††

††But this beer was evaluated and won a 1st Place Gold Medal at the 13th Annual Great International Beer Competition (in 11/2009)!
There are some breweries that most beer cognoscenti are familiar with, even if they’ve never tasted any of their beers. Based on reputation alone, the brewers behind these places have built a name for themselves. Southampton Publick House is one of those locales. Whether you’ve tried their fine wares before, have long wanted to, or never even heard of them, you’re in for a treat this month because we’ve selected a truly unique ale for you. Out in the East End of Long Island, NY, about an hour and 45 minutes east of the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, you’ll find Long Island’s finest casual dining and a masterful range of classic ales and lagers at the Southampton Publick House. This landmark location for beer has long served as an outlet for people to enjoy a drink, be it fermented or distilled (legal or otherwise). Since the 1800s, beer has been produced and served in the Publick House’s previous incarnations as a speakeasy, watering hole and restaurant. During Prohibition, on the site where Southampton Publick House stands today, the original proprietors operated a proper restaurant while hiding a speakeasy in the back that served smuggled spirits and beer. Thirsty restaurant patrons would disappear for a short while, typically returning with a much rosier disposition. Over the years, legendary figures of the 1920s and 30s like Babe Ruth, Clark Gable and Gary Cooper mixed right in with the regulars. This was a place where everyone got top billing, so these three luminaries were just “some of the guys,” sharing stories and a common passion for finding a tasty, quality brew. After this long and storied history, Don Sullivan bought the historic building with the goal of adding a brewery to honor the rich beer tradition of the owners and patrons who came before him. The Southampton Publick House was reborn in 1996 as a microbrewery restaurant and began serving great food and superior quality craft brews in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. With precedent like this, the brewer who would continue that tradition had to be someone with a real passion and skill for brewing. That brewer is Phil Markowski, who has been professionally brewing since 1989, and homebrewing since his college days in 1984. About his brewing education, he says “I took a couple of short courses in brewing but am mostly self-taught. The rest is luck!” That’s putting it humbly. Phil has personally directed, researched and developed the unique recipes of Southampton ales and lagers. His small batch brews range from classic farmhouse styles to traditional beer styles made to be enjoyed year-round. Phil’s awards at Southampton are many. Here are some of them: 5 Gold, 4 Silver and 5 Bronze Medals at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver 2 Silver and 2 Bronze Medals at the World Beer Cup 3 Gold and 1 Silver Medals at the Real Ale Festival in Chicago 1 Gold Medal at the Great International Beer Festival Add two more Golds at the Great American Beer Festival from two prior brewing assignments, and Phil’s medal count is 25 and counting. This level of recognition at these highly competitive and prestigious events has established Phil as one of the most honored and sought after brewers and speakers in the craft world. He was awarded the Institute for Brewing Studies Russell Scherer Award For Innovation in Craft Brewing at the 2003 Craft Brewers Annual Conference. This award honors a single American Craft Brewer who is selected by the Institute’s board members, as having showed innovation and quality in brewing, as well as making significant contributions to the Craft Brewing Industry. Under Phil’s stewardship, Southampton Publick House has become one of the most award-winning breweries in America— ranked in the top 20 for GABF medals won by a brewery in the last 10 years. (Excluding the big 4 breweries and chain brewpubs, Southampton is in the top 10 in medals won at the GABF in the last 10 years!) And Phil wrote the book on Farmhouse Ales [literally; it’s called Farmhouse Ales: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition (2004)]. All this recitation of praise is making us very thirsty—let’s move on to the man’s area of expertise, shall we?
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