Welp, people from Southern California were seed pissed when I not only exposed their Highland Park honeyhole, but gave it irritating praise as well. Not content to ruin things for my own locals, it’s time to ruin things for those shrewd Seattle hucksters who have been sitting on a saison goldmine. Those chicanerous tricksters thought they could keep this farmhouse factory a secret, but as usual, DDB is here to fuck things up for all parties involved.
Alright so, farmhouse focus: check, 10 barrel system: check, barrel program: check, small yields: check. So are we dealing with Upright version 2.0? Ehhh, not really. This is more like if pre-sellout Logsdon scissored with Prairie, and the friction generated a spontaneous yeastchild, in defiance of science and labial integrity.
Their marketing is rather ho hum and is almost inspiring in how clean, simple, and focused their branding is. Paper mache labels, and simple white keeps the focus on the 750ml glory inside. This isn’t some midwest, flash art, Affliction text and tattoo parlor dragons wrapped around pounder cans type of shit. The message is simple, the beers are subtle but complex.
Like most 7-10 barrel brewers, they have this Tired Handsy focus on hoppy/farmhouse/make a billion different ticks a month. After a year and some change I think they are outpacing Cellarmaker for more apeshit offerings per month than anyone else. Let’s review 6 of their bottled beers today and complain like entitled pussies, de rigueur.
This belgian pale ale is messy as fuck. I mean that in several ways, first, the attenuation is apeshit on all of these bottles. Second, this had half a juniper stalk of free floating buds and sediment floating around and the final pour was like licking the soles of someone on the final day of Burning Man. I would rate this as 87 International Rusticity Units (IRUs.) This was the weakest beer in the lineup and it was like a soft offering from LeChouffe. Not bad but, get the Brawny.
The Goat, saison, 4.9% abv
Alright, if things weren’t apeshit enough with the prior bottle the goat takes over attenuation to full krausened insanity. I opened this beer and not just a “whoa Logsdon gusher” this was full on projectile Bellagio fountain shit. I pushed my thumb into the bottle and it impelled force to spray a jetstream like some Brazzers squirtvid all over my ceiling. After that Double Dare shit was over, this fantastic, gentle, belgian single/table beer maintained this awesome earthy meets floral aspect like Avril. The swallow is lightly tart and reminds me a lot of Clara, clementines and whipped egg. Croosh to the nth power.
The Gray Tower
Grisette (?) 5.4% abv
This was pretty deece and a solid entry in their lineup that really reminded me a lot of the bretty oaked saisons from Prairie. One caveat I have to mention is that I am reviewing these saisons relative to their own stellar lineup and a lineage of the best saisons of recent memory. This has a great lemony brett C funk, some phenolic esters like a stack of comic books and limoncello.
Barrel #7, american wild ale with stone fruit
I have literally nothing to complain about this beer and I am confident that this will land in the DDB top 10 beers of 2015. This is a softer, more european, subtler version of West Ashley. It has the awesome aspects of Flora Satsuma in the gentle acidity, perfect balance of tartness to creamy clean grist, a lingering chardonnay oak and this peach jolly rancher closer. This is absolutely unmissable, a refined baby brother improvement upon the already staggering Peche n Brett forte.
“A hoppy saison brewed with wheat and aged in oak with brett.
This batch was aged for over three months in our foudre with brettanomyces and then dry hopped. Refermented in the bottle with brettanomyces.”
The archetypical HOPPY FARMHOUSE entry in every saison centered brewery. We all know one. If you wanted a more resinous version of Noble King, or a stemmier version of Prairie Hop, your prayers have been answered. If you were underwhelmed by HF Sue, then this will be your nemesis because it executes like a more yard clippings forward type of bone dry Dorothy. You get the pine, aserose, some raked leaves, frothy whiskey sour and a long oaky finish. Ba dum tish. That’s all there is to it.
The hart, oak aged saison, 6.5% abv
If you can’t get barrel 7, then please lock this bad ratchet down. This is a phenomenal entry from these guys that shows holy mountain has a delicate hand like a Vietnamese seamstress. The union of classic belgian esters, grapefruit pith, orange julius, mandarin slices and a frothy mouthfeel makes killing this 750ml incredibly easy, frustrating even. I highly recommend checking out their saison lineup and this would be second only to the Persicab1-tier madness of Barrel 7. I was watching Killing Them Softly and I drilled this entire bottle before Brad Pitt even showed up in the first act. It is refreshing, complex, everything a modern saison should be but with the gravitas of a proud lineage.
I would watch these guys in the future, they are already putting out incredible offerings, coupled with tiny counts, low limits: PNW got a cetacean shitstorm a-brewin off the Puget Sound, movin inland at 40 knots.