People with severe OCD will have their teeth itch seein Clover in the mismatched glassware. Don’t worry, all is remedied below. So what do we have here today? Some serious Wallonian Greco Roman wrassling, oiled up with musk and funk, rollin in them hay bales.
With some limited qualifiers, I don’t think it is a point of contention that Side Project and Hill Farmstead are arguably the highest rated saison producers in America at present. Casey and SARA fanatics temple veins be on full throb, I see u. These two beers represent the pinnacle of the entries from THOSE TWO canons. Each is a component blended saison comprised of the discrete “highest touted” offerings and we can test the hypothesis as to whether a saison can be greater than the SAIsum on its parts.
Clover is a blend of Ann, Art and Flora.
Tete is Oude Fermier, Oude Du Ble and “experimental saisons”
Composition fallacies aside, these two are unquestionably world class and represent the tip of the spear for the style. Yes, they are decidedly american in execution but neither drunkenly stumbles into that faux-wild ale realm of buckling acidity that has so deftly poisoned the credibility of North American saisons due to mixed branding, mixed ferming, and monoculturing. I can already see some dumbfuck in the comments carrying on about Blaugies and TRADITIONALLY NUANCED GRIST. I get it. Sit down, take your Nintendo Switch to Ypres and leave us alone.
SO WHICH IS BETTER DDB? I ONLY HAVE $350 IN MY BEER CELLAR GIFT CERTIFICATES AN CAN ONLY GET 1.
That’s a difficult question to answer because both are solving the question of depth and control, with staggering power and panache. This isn’t some hemming and hawing, the two address the same issue in different ways: what is sublimity in the farmhouse genre? For Tete the expression is a sort of Rationalist box checking endeavor that leaves no element unaddressed. It has a more fulfilling creamy whip to the mouth feel, additional heft and churned malt for a longer finish. It is easier to apprehend because it is less delicate, Tete is the Lars Von Trier with a clear message, while Clover is more of a Michael Haneke that needs to be unpacked and examined carefully.
The nose on Tete is like Peach chobani, greek yogurt and cut stone fruit, corded rope, cut construction paper, popsicle sticks and clementines. Clover opts for a more zesty approach with lime and gruyere, Comte cheese and meyer lemon rind, peeled Cuties. The contrasts are difficult to articulate without reaching to base consumeristic metaphors, so strap in, there’s a lot of head cradling similes in today’s review.
Clover reminds me of the delicate brett B, Brett L balance with the faintest hint of acidity. It presses the capacity of the genre to new levels only excelled by Art, SARA WOL, and Ann. It is the timeless body line expression of a Carrera 911 which will remain relevant beyond the life of the content. Tete is the dizzying capacity of a Nissan GTR which outperforms competitors by sheer mechanical attention to every detail.
Tete is inferior to the likes of say, Saison du Fermier b1 and Unblended 40. But that’s about it. The Voltron approach addresses every concern and usually I can pipe up with a condescending yarn about “FOR THIS PRICE YOU CAN DRINK [whateverthefuck, usually Parabola] INSTEAD!” I simply cannot do that here, because the closest analogues are still pretty fucking expensive. In an odd shift, you can drink THESE instead of going for Ann or Unblended 40. Hill Farmstead is its own discount brand.
Ironically, I wanted to drink more of Clover because it’s that silent child who needs the extra attention, but the small format is the ringing of the school bell, off Clover goes back to that alcoholic stepfather who makes him cut Granny Smith apples and churn Brie. Tete survives longer sessions and produces a wide spectrum of flavors as it warms. It doesn’t rely heavily on the slightly more acidic profile because it also gives more of that Brett B musk. It feels like it is trying harder, which may be good or bad depending on your proclivities.
In a vacuum, both beers are genre-defining but they serve to highlight different ways to the core of saison sublimity. Clover makes Tete seem heavy handed and Tete makes Clover seem insubstantial, but neither is deficient. It’s like a buddy cop movie where Tete is always tryna touch Clover’s radio, but Clover is too old for this shit and 3 days away from retirement. Those tropes.
Realistically, these should only come in magnums, but this is the world we live in. Sadly, these beers will usually be consumed in an Ohio backyard split 14 ways by drunk dipshits with filthy taster glasses getting their daily cardio by taking a knee to obtain a horizon level photo of the beer for Untappd. What a time to be alive, 2, 14; BIN CONUS INCLUDED.