Review: Nickel Brook Brewing Co. - Le Paysan Belgian Style Saison

Today I decided to crack open a bottle I received for my recent birthday (the birthday wishes are unnecessary, seriously... okay, okay, you can wish me a happy birthday... alright, enough already! happy birthday to me, I get it!)  That bottle is a 750mL belgian saison from Nickel Brook dubbed "Le Paysan".  It seems that a lot of breweries are getting into this style this year, moreso than in recent years.  Some have felt rather dull with only light notes of pepper, fruitiness and little to no spice or hop profile.  Let's see how Nickel Brook does in comparison.

While it's recommended that you serve a saison in a tulip or chalice (just as they note on the bottle) I ended up pouring this into a standard pint glass.  It comes out a hazy golden orange with a thick white head, which is both slightly sudsy and foamy in appearance, and is thick enough to have high retention.  As the head eventually settles it leaves behind a thin yet prominent lacing.  The carbonnation is quite apparent, leaving me to believe it will be medium to high.

The aroma is quite nice, sweet ester characteristics right up front with a light spiciness in the back.  There's some tart citrus bitterness in there as well, making the ester notes feel like orange or grapefruit.  There's something about the smell that just sings "clean" and I can't quite place where it's coming from.  All in all, it's very inviting.

My first sip hits me with a lot of that crisp and refreshing citrus from the nose, definitely tasting like some kind of cross between orange and grapefruit there; very juicy up front.  There's also some light pale malt and hop characteristics up front that balance out some of that citrus quite beautifully.  As I let that first sip sit on my tongue for a few seconds longer, I get a medium body and high carbonnation feeling that accompanies a nice warm pepper taste which comes through along with some other spicy characteristics.  After swallowing, that pepper and spice lingers for a while and dries out the mouth a little leaving an astrigent aftertaste.  And what does this accomplish?  It brings me back for more.

In the end, this saison is definitely up there on my list of summer beers this year.  It has a great balance between sweet, citrus, bitter, and spiciness that all blends together quite nicely.  Grab a few bottles and share with your friends at your next BBQ get together, it's definitely a sit-out-in-the-sun-kinda-beer.

Check out the LCBO's site to find a location near you that stocks it! (LCBO#: 386458)

Thanks for reading and, as always, I love hearing what you think so drop me a line here if you have a chance to try it out!

-James