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.