Beer Review 0324: The Bruery Saison de Lente

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After the last few days, I feel like I’ve given up something for Lent. Being sick and not being able to drink beer sucks, let alone not being able to keep up with my reviews. But I’ve recovered and am ready to get back to writing about beer, so I figured The Bruery’s Saison de Lente was as good a place to start as any, especially since today marks the start of Lent.

Lent translates to “long springtime,” and is a religious observance that lasts forty days. Traditionally, those participating in Lent will give up a luxury as a form of penitence — each spring, Placentia, California’s The Bruery put out a seasonal offering called Saison de Lente, brewed with Brettanomyces yeast. So there’s your reason not to give up beer if you observe Lent.

The Bruery was founded by Patrick Rue, his brother Chris and wife Rachel; the three brewed a batch of Amber Ale using Cascade hops and the beer was so good that Patrick abandoned his future as an attorney and became a full-time brewer.

All Bruery beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized; they are also all bottle conditioned, meaning the carbonation naturally occurs through a secondary bottle fermentation. The name “Bruery” is a fusion of the word ‘brewery’ with the family name Rue.

Saison de Lente comes in at 6.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 35 IBUs (International Bitterness Units). As previously mentioned, it is brewed with Brettanomyces, a wild yeast that produces acetic acid.

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Pouring very slowly produced a massive, huge head, bright white in color and built upon both large and small bubbles. The texture of the foam was quite creamy and it billowed over top of the glass without problem, holding its structure. The color of the beer was straw yellow, with a line of darker gold directly underneath the head. The bottle label clearly said to leave the yeast in the bottle, so I did; therefore, the body was clear and free of particles and sediment. There were plenty of carbonation bubbles zooming to the top, and when the head finally settled down, excellent lacing started immediately and lasted all throughout drinking.

The aromatics featured tons of barnyard funk, but it wasn’t overwhelming; think more hay/outdoors rather than horse blanket. There was also a significant hop presence in the form of orange and lemon peel, as well as some general fruity/herbal notes. In the very background, classic scents of banana and bubblegum were waiting. Very nice and pleasant.

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Upon tasting, you notice something missing. I couldn’t exactly pinpoint it, but this beer is extremely clean with bright notes of orange and lemon up front, supported by a medium mouthfeel that had a lively, almost stinging carbonation. But there really isn’t much more here; the finish comes on with some of the barn funk, which gives way to a bit of tartness and a moderately bitter conclusion that brings out some grass, banana, and a dry candied orange. Medium-bodied, this beer left my palate dried out and wanting another sip.

While Saison de Lente is certainly a nice looking and smelling beer, it’s a little lacking on flavor. And I think what might be lacking is some age. The Bruery says this one can cellar for up to two years, and this bottle was sampled nearly as soon as it hit my bottle shop. An interesting Saison take, the drinkability is high but satisfaction suffers when it comes to depth of flavor.

The Bruery Saison de Lente, 87 points. Price: $10.99 US for one 750 ml bottle.

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