Up for review today, just in time to celebrate these warm temperatures, is a great farmhouse ale from Grand Teton Brewing. Synonymously called a Saison, these beers are hearty, often strong, bright and hazy ales. Classically these were brewed in the Winter months, and meant to condition in the Spring so that they could be enjoyed in the Summer. The resounding defining characteristic of a Saison is the depth of its yeasty complexities, they are often fruity, bright, and quite dry with little residual sweetness. Sometimes they can be a bit tart, just like this Gem from Grand Teton. This beer is soured with Brettanomyces which helps to impart a nice tart undertone, as well as a little bit of fruitiness to the beer. To further up the ante in the sour department, this brew was also soured with Lactobacillus, which may be familiar to some, it helps to provide the “pucker” and really ramp up the tartness in the beer. All that said, it is not overly tart or sour, this is a great balance of yeasty, earthy, farmhouse, balanced with a bright and fruity tartness. Let’s jump into the review!
Brewery: Grand Teton Brewing — Victor, ID
Beer: Sour Grand Saison — 2015 Cellar Reserve
ABV: 7.5% / 34 IBU
Cost: $10.99 / 750mL Bottle
Appearance (3.5/5) — This beer pours a bright and quite hazy orange color, there is a big and tall, puffy, off-white colored head that sits atop the body of the beer. The head dissipates rather slowly and leaves behind some spotty lacing along the inside of the class.
Aroma (4.25/5) — Quite a range of aromas going on here. Initial notes of yeast and a slight peppery undertone. Develops into a tart and bright bouquet of lemon, orange, citrusy and fresh. As it warms some banana like flavors come out, as do a bit of malt undertones. You could smell this one for days.
Taste (4.0/5) — The fresh aromas develop nicely into the flavor profile of the beer. Lots of bright citrus, tart lemon juice, juicy orange and light banana flavors. With each sip the tartness continues to develop and ramp up. Lots of tart lemon rind and bit of lime, fresh, clean, bright. Little bit of an earthy freshness underneath all the layers.
Mouthfeel (4.0/5) — Moderately high carbonation level, this is almost Champagne like. Very crisp, clean, refreshing. There is a long and lingering finish here that helps showcase the wide array of flavors.
Overall (4.5/5) — This is a fantastic beer, especially for the summer months. There is a great depth and array of flavors on show here. Little bit of tartness really makes with quite refreshing and bright. I can see this one going down smoothly all summer long. Also note that this beer can age for years to come, expect some more tartness over time. Enjoy fresh, or age, the choice is yours! Pair this up with grilled fish and veggies, a spicy dish, or with a simple cheese plate, there is no wrong way to enjoy this one.