Stillwater Artisanal Ales - Stateside Saison

Stillwater Artisanal Ales - Stateside Saison

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club

Style:

American Farmhouse Saison

Country:

United States

Alcohol by Volume:

6.80%

Stillwater Artisanal Ales - Stateside Saison

  • Alcohol by Volume: 6.80%
  • Bottle Size: No
  • Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
  • Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Tulip
We always love a well-packaged beer, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Gold foil seal over a hand-applied cap, draped in a label featuring cool artwork—packaging like this helps to elevate the image of beer—so, a tip of the hat for that. Stateside Saison pours with a furiously thick off white head sitting atop a pale amber beer. Ultimately it drops down to a perfectly respectable froth that sticks it out for the duration. On the nose, this beer kicks up tons of pleasing goodness; look for notes of citrus and floral qualities, hints of juniper berries, pears, grassiness, toffee and fresh grains, spicy phenols and wafts of alcohol. Hops are present as well, offering a rather herbal character. As the beer warms, there’s a fairly intense earthiness that emerges and reminds you that you’re drinking a farmhouse ale. Essentially everything on the nose makes its way into the flavor profile, but the citrus notes trend toward higher acidity than expected, giving the impression of white wine. However, the spiciness of this beer helps keep the vinous notes parked out back, as notes of finely ground black pepper tingle the tongue. Expect a pretty hefty mustiness, which borders on musky given the spiciness. Some notes of fermented honey develop as it warms, and with added temperature, the complexity explodes. Look for notes of fresh, unbaked dough, spicy woodiness (spruce? cedar?), ginger, lemon zest, Muscat grapes and pepper, cloves and a flash of fresh (or even homegrown) green bell peppers (specifically, the gentle spice that they can have, especially when very young). The beer leaves lots of zest-like bite behind on the palate, not unlike the sensation from fresh cracked black peppercorns, but this is blended with a distinct hoppy bite and bitterness offered up by the Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand. This is one intense saison. Its complexity makes a food pairing a bit tricky—it’s quite involved all by itself, though a spicy gumbo, heavy on the Cajun spices, or a rich crawfish étouffée would hold up nicely.
So called “Gypsy Brewing” seems to have a creditability problem for some folks, while for others, it’s an act of almost mad, manipulative genius. The term refers to a brewer who migrates from brewery to brewery, be it as a “guest brewer” at a branded brewing company, or, as a “user” of a brewery that is booked and rented by the “gypsy.” Why does this freak some people out? We’re not sure, really. Maybe it’s the fear that the beers will be inconsistent from batch to batch. Perhaps the concern is that the beers are too “one-off” in nature. Some people hate that… others embrace it due to the fact that the beers are always unique, created almost spontaneously at the selected brewing site… others see the ability to create a consistently good product across a variety of sites as the ultimate mark of an expert brewer—the adaptability is the mark of prowess and skill. Like Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys using six different recording studios to get the sounds needed to realize “Good Vibrations”, Gypsy Brewers can take advantage of different breweries to capitalize on a given character or trait. Then again, it might be a situation where opportunism is a factor: the necessary capacity can be achieved at one brewery instead of another, or, the reputation of one brewery means better reception of the gypsy’s beer, allowing them to piggyback on the fan base of the “bigger” brewery. But a more obvious benefit is the lack of overhead to the brewer, which in essence translates to unrestricted freedom and creativity. What ever the reasons behind gypsy brewers going gypsy, it has worked for a number of them. Perhaps the most famous is Mikkel Bjergsø, of the acclaimed Mikkeller. Being a brewer without his own brewery has not held back this brewer’s creativity or capacity. He’s doing exactly what he wants to do, when and where he wants, and his beers are coveted the world over. But there is a new up-and-coming gypsy making the rounds. His name is Brian Strumke. A little over a year ago, his homebrewed beers were sampled by a fellow named Brian Ewing, who was just starting up his own New York based distributing business, focusing mainly on Belgian beer. Brian and his team were quite impressed with those homebrews, which spurred a meeting of the two Brians. According to “Distributor Brian”, “‘Brewer Brian’ shared a dizzying array of additional gems—everything totally original, everything expertly crafted.” So when Brewer Brian later decided to make the leap into commercial brewing, Distributor Brian offered to help at the drop of a hat. To start, there will be two facets to the venture: one line of beers brewed domestically, and another crafted at some of 12% Imports’ (the distributors) favorite small breweries in Europe, then imported back to the US. First up for release is Stateside Saison—an inspired twist on a Belgian saison brewed by Brian “Stillwater” Strumke at a small brewery out in western Maryland. Trust us when we say that this is something you’re definitely not going to want to miss.
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