@rusticales is perhaps tied with HF as the best saison purveyor in the US, top 3 at the very least. The ultra hard water profile had this minerality that made me never love their hop game because it was perfunctory and felt almost too succinct. They improved that and, now suddenly the mixed ferm Capitola kids are fermenting from the bottom up.
HELLES. On one hand, they are so precise in executing such a sloppy farmhouse style with intent that lagers make sense. On the other, the pinpoint accuracy of a helles seems too minimalist for their attention. The contrast between the two is often the difference between “gym lighting” and thinking you have triceps and “natural lighting” where the world sees you in direct sunlight. A disparity can exist.
If you grab your FC Bayern jersey and expect pure Munich, let me temper your traditional leanings: this is a SARA style helles. It is better in many ways, but it’s not that “4A BJCP” entry straight outta south Bavaria.
This has such a vibrant, solar, lemon, challah bread, jasmine with Chanel Allure Homme citrus to it that it almost feels like a lager table bier. It knowingly breaks convention but uses a bone dry finish to provide a knowing nod to their deviance. It’s like when someone gets in your car and points out your check engine light is on, like “OH REALLY? Thanks for that, I only sit here every day seeing that, wow, maybe I do have a C70 oxygen sensor I need to take care of, good job pointing that out.” But the whip still pulls sick burnouts.
The swallow is terse but radioactive, irradiating the palate with sourdough, raked fescue, Bermuda, and key limes. Part of the Saharan swallow even feels like a Sancerre. It has the haysweet smell of your vegan ex girlfriend’s sweat, haunting that Sublime hoodie. The grassiness is a little Altoids tin of secrets, maybe a furtive object you stole from his car after you lost your virginity, a physical bauble to ground the experience, add meaning to the milestone, until reeking of Helles you realize that stylistic objectivity is a social construct, like virginity itself. And ritz cracker is there too.
It’s very well done. No one should be surprised at this point.