Christmas has passed, but I couldn’t resist the wordplay in the title, nor trust my memory to let it wait until next time; but no matter the season, this Saison really shines. Coming in at 7%, this barrel-aged blend is both fine for fireside sipping as well as refreshing on a warm day.
The beer pours slightly opaque, and the butter-yellow liquid shines in the light. The head is pronounced and frothy like homemade whipped cream that hasn’t quite thickened all the way. The head gives a muted aroma which is mildly fruity with hints of peach, apple, green grapes and a little typical Belgiany banana and clove.
Unlike most sours, this beer has a sour characteristic that starts off with the tartness front and center and fades from there. Fruity and tart like a ripe green apple, the sourness in this Saison is pleasant and refreshing. It is never harsh or puckering. The sides of the tongue light with flavors of green grape before a sweeter, peachy flavor is picked up by the middle. The Saison fades to an aftertaste with a detectable barnyard funk and a champagne-like dryness on the sides of the tongue. The lingering aftertaste attests to the Brett in the beer and is a dance of the Saison characteristics and the sour/wild aspects where neither partner is the sole leader.
This Sour Saison offers is a perfect blending of a dry Saison with a slightly sour barrel-aged blonde. The tartness enhances its fruity and refreshing characteristics rather than being over-the-top sour. Blending beers like these takes careful crafting to let the individual attributes of each style shine without either being overpowering, and New Belgium have nailed that in this one.
So while it may not seem like the season for a Saison, pick this one up while you can. No matter the weather where you are, I think you’ll enjoy sipping a glass of New Belgium’s Sour Saison.
Aroma (light but fruity)…6/10
Appearance (yellow and bit cloudy with a frothy head)…7/10
Flavor (fruity, tart, and a very well-balanced blend)…8/10