Beer Review 0426: Boulevard Saison-Brett Farmhouse Ale
Fresh off the line from Boulevard Brewing Company (Kansas City, Missouri) is a limited release from their Smokestack Series of beers, Saison-Brett, a Farmhouse Ale bottle conditioned with various yeasts, including Brettanomyces, a wild yeast that produces acetic acid.
Based off of Boulevard’s year-round Saison recipe, Tank 7 (my rating: 90 points), Saison-Brett is dry-hopped with Magnum and Amarillo hops. It has a higher AVB (alcohol by volume) than Tank 7, coming in at 8.5%, and the IBUs (International Bitterness Units) are 38. Only 4,100 cases (49,200 bottles) were produced for 2013; if you allow this beer to age, the Brettanomyces yeast will continue to work its magic inside the bottle, bringing out more funky and sour notes in the beer. Prior to release, Boulevard let the bottles sit for three months.
Uncorking saw the beer almost spew out the top of the bottle — this is highly carbonated. Saison-Brett produced a huge head, which was very soapy with big bubbles at first, but when allowed to settle a bit, it became creamy. Lasting and bright-white, the suds sat atop a golden-orange beer that looked like summertime in a glass. The body was quite cloudy, enough to make the liquid opaque; there were no particles or sediment despite all the cloudiness, and the lacing was outstanding, leaving behind puffy clouds down the glass. Head retention was also amazing, staying steady at a half-finger throughout drinking.
The aroma was definitely driven by the hops, which I didn’t really expect, although should have anticipated given this is a dry-hopped beer. There are notes of grapefruit and orange; some herbal and floral notes — fresh flowers are prominent, and lavender. The Brett yeast is subdued but a touch of funk is here, along with a musty leafy scent. There are grainy, wheaty malts to round things out.
Citrus notes kick off the taste, which offers orange and grapefruit heavily; these fade a bit to the background and a touch of funky yeast comes to the forefront. This serves to cleanse the palate and offer some body — barnyard and bready malts lead to a very herbaceous and floral middle of the mouth, mixing parsley and lavender. The finish is dry, combining the lavender with orange peel, lemon, and a mild hop bitterness with a touch of twangy funk. Amazing! This is light-bodied, with a medium mouthfeel that is initially creamy but becomes quite fizzy when swirled around the tongue thanks to the lively carbonation.
Complex and refreshing are the two words to describe Saison-Brett. I’ve got two more for you: liquid art. This is a dazzling beer that offers a wide array of flavors, hidden alcohol, and just a damn good time. I will have to get another bottle of this to see what the Brett does, and I’ll have to get another bottle just to have now. I looked down and my glass was empty, and it only took about twenty minutes. TASTY. Buy now, while you can.
Boulevard Saison-Brett Farmhouse Ale, 96 points. Price: $12.99 US for one 750 ml corked & caged bottle.