It is definitely patio season, and there are only a few beer styles out there that truly belong on the patio. The saison style is definitely one of them. As I said in a recent review of Nickel Brook's Le Paysan, more and more breweries seem to be getting into the style, but some seem to be missing the mark (although Nickel Brook most definitely did not.) That being said, when it's done right, a saison is a fine, fine beer to have on a warm and sunny day. I have high hopes for today's review as Beau's has rarely done me wrong.
The Patio Saison pours a hazy orange colour with fluffy white head that has little retention but leaves some nice lacing. Carbonation is highly visible. As it sits and warms up the haze fades away and while it's not crystal clear the haze is considerably less.
As I poured this I got a huge hit of floral and herbal notes off the nose (must be those elder flowers they have in there.) I find that aroma is really dominant as I search for other smells, but I do pick up some notes of lemon, orange and banana along with some clove, thyme, peppercorn and coriander. Mostly what I'd expect from a saison with a significant twist from the elder flower.
So when I dove into the first few creamy sips, I was expecting that same strong, nearly overpowering floral characteristic that I was getting from the nose. But those floral and herbal notes become rather subdued and give way to the pepper, clove and spice flavours. The big player in all of this is the tart citrus bitterness that comes to the front, with notes of freshly squeezed orange juice. All that lingers is a light, dry pepper feeling that just makes you want to take your next sip. Oh, and remember how I mentioned the carbonation was very visible? I was expecting a high carbonation level because of that, but really the bubbles are quite fine and go very well with the light creaminess of this saison.
So overall, how did I feel? Good, very good. My ideal saison is something that has some strong fruit and spice notes with less bitterness, which the folks at Beau's decided to flip on me (more citrus bitter, less ester and spice.) Some of you will inevitably ask me if this falls into the "good saison" or "bad saison" category, since I've been saying there are some that seem to be missing the mark. This, my friends, definitely falls into the good saison category.
If you're so inclined to give this a try you can pick it up at a nearby LCBO. Alternatives would include using the brewery's BYBO program (which supports Operation Come Home) or taking a day trip out to the brewery in Vankleek Hill.