THE SAISON MARATHON HAS BEGUN, GOD HELP US ALL.
This is the infamous wine barrel aged saison that I have received no fewer than 4058230985 requests to review. As the grand opening to the saison marathon, I will finally review not only the highest rated saison in the world, but also one of the best beers that I have ever had in my entire beer drinking life. For the uninitiated, this has been heralded as a revelation for the saison style and is an exemplary demonstration of the raw talent seeping out of Hill Farmstead like open prodigious sores. This was a 180 bottle, 1 per person release and if that alone was not enough, shockingly, no one wanted to trade a beer that is damn near perfect. No amount of Daisy Cutter would make it happen. Let’s approach perfection in today’s inherently flawed review.
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Vermont, United States
Saison / Farmhouse Ale | 6.50% ABV
A: This is almost dead on to the style and presents a milky yellow discountenance with incredibly fine microbubbles that present a huge amount of cling. The carbo looks like tiny beds of golden Roe and lace the glass for almost an instant before crackling away. Ann is turbid and has a sort of watery golden hay look to the body with eggshell white bubbles. The bottle gushed a bit upon opening, but that happened with Norma as well and she was damn near perfect as well so, hard to really fault it on that front. A very beautiful beer, and while not at radiant as say, Ithaca Brute, it has this dirty radioactive property to it, just how you like your women.
S: This is incredibly complex and I took my time to let this open up to its full bouquet. If you drink this cold, you are 1) an asshole and 2) doing the saison world a disseervice. I would heartily recommend that you let this breathe up to the low 60’s, and it will offer up a deep upside down Spoderman kiss of honey, lightly lactic lemon zest, a faint wheat profile, a gentle amount of funk like sorting through old Marvel trading cards, and finally closes with a fantastic white grape element. At the outset, this beer strays dangerously far from the typical non-BA saison genre, but is better for it. If the outstretched hand from saison to AWA makes you uncomfortable, go drink a Sanctification and think about what could have been, ain’t no one asking you to the Beer Sadie Hawkins Dance anyway.
T: This is lightly tart at the outset with ripe canteloupe and lemon notes that leave a bit of a drying aspect, this gives way to the malt profile which is creamy and reminds me of a fresh grands biscuits, albeit with honey and light pear up in the mix, if that wasn’t enough, the final sharp chardonnay aspect comes in and starts power sanding down the bitter zones with a sand blaster. The crisp finish makes your palate all pissed and wanting another hit of that sweet saison methadone.
M: This imparts a huge white grape and pear skin note that is a bit creamy and brackish almost at the same time, which might be confusing for those who don’t have their sea legs in saison/american wild ale territory, notwithstanding, it is beyond excellent in this respect. The mouthfeel has a milky froth that immediately subsides into a drying chardonnay aspect. Like so many gilded age politicians, it gives and takes away with the same hand and your native american tastebuds are left reeling in its wake: discontent and wanting more.
D: This beer effectively will ruin not only the saison genre at large for you due to its complexity, but it will also in a lesser way ruin beer in general for you. It is kinda like how hooking up with 16 year olds is illegal because it makes hooking up too easy and denatures the value of making out in general. Landing this beer is so hard because it is a cautionary tale as to how drinkable and good beer can be at its apex. This doesn’t present a decadent profile like some complex gueuze or imperial stouts, but it imparts a staggering amount of drinkability and just outright uplifting citrus notes. The abv is not only perfectly masked, it comes across as though this beer is actually somehow good for you. The panacea effect is substantial with a beer that is this approachable. You could give this to a teething infant and it would recognize it as a potent elixir, HP/MP fully restored like staying at an inn. I cannot say enough good things about this beer. It is unquestionably the best saison that I have ever had and amongst the beers that I have ever had.
Narrative: Ann Portinari has served as a seraphim figure for brewers and beer traders in general. Those tedious days of spraying out tanks and cleaning up spent grain were a silent appeal to power. There is a divine undercurrent to manipulating the properties of life, casting away life sustaining wheat to generate even simpler cultures, using them for an ontological purpose. It is in this fashion that each batch is a silent prayer to Ann, an appeal to immortality in a manner that only Herbert Spencer can truly identify. So much beer has been cast through livers and into drains in flailing attempts at benediction or salvation. Ann drapes her wings lovingly over those drunk assholes on a nightly basis, fumbling through their phones to text ex-girlfriends, she is life giver and destroyer. Some would opine that in malt liquors her presence is not felt. Why when Molson needed her most were there only one set of footprints in the mash? It was during those times that the sweet muse carried them. Ann was an overseer of more than beverages, for in alcoholic drinks, man seeks to abrogate reason and become a god by mashing out on 2 full samplers at Denny’s. No dick pic has been sent without her careful intervention and oversight. In brewing parlance, when one has sparged and sparged in endless toil, she lifts one up to beatific perfection, making all other endeavors seems trivial by contrast. In this respect she is both instructive and destructive, sure that cab is $42, but what are you going to do? Leave your car here and then pick it up before streetsweeping at 7 am? Fuck that, Ann has wrapped her golden shroud around you, do sick burnouts and show the world your value.