Saisons scare me.
Not in the way a 100+ IBU Double IPA or a 15% Russian Imperial Stout does, but exactly the opposite. Saisons are so gentle, delicate, and almost frighteningly nuanced that I am still trying to find my way around the style. I am not too proud to admit how much more I have to learn about some beer styles, the saison in particular.
What’s worse is the style only seems to be approached by beer nerds/savants/snobs/connisseurs, mainly on the merits of the name sounding a little too foreign for average or budding beer drinkers.
That’s a shame. As a beer style, saisons tend to bridge a wide divide, being multi-faceted enough to reward beer drinkers willing to dive right in and discover its secrets, but light and unassuming to bring in those macro drinkers willing to dip a toe into the pool.
I am also firmly aware that one of the biggest champions of the style, at least in my region, is Prosperity Brewers’ award-winning head brewer Joel Kodner. He’s the kind of brewer that hones in on the finest details of a beer with the precision of a surgeon, rather than bashing out its brains like a caveman.
He turned his attention to another saison recently, and was quite pleased with the results of Beyond the Chalet (Saison, 4.4% ABV, 11 IBU). After trying it myself, I can see why.
It’s great to see him release a beer with such a depth of flavor in what is still a light, effervescent body. The grain bill is made up of Pilsen malt, white wheat, and “the tiniest touch of rye” according to Joel. This gives the beer a base that is light and buoyant enough to be snappy and crisp, but still hold all of the wonderful flavors.
Speaking of flavors, it was brewed with Hallertau Blanc hops and Safale BE-134 yeast, bringing in an almost unoaked Chardonnay quality to the beer. There’s a light belgian quality swimming around in the back, but it’s more about those deep, almost fruity qualities that Joel was able to bring out so wonderfully.
It’s a great beer for drinkers of all levels, even if you’re like me and have no idea what level you belong to. If these are the beers he is releasing, Prosperity is definitely happy to have someone of Joel’s caliber manning their system.
But I still have more to learn.
Drink Florida Craft,
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