Somewhere west of St. Louis, someone is making magic. They’re called Side Project and their angle is quite refreshing: 100% barrel-aged and mostly barrel-fermented brews. They specialize in rustic Saisons, Wild Ales and spirit barrel-aged ales which, when translated, reads Yummy, Super Yummy, and Yummylicious.
I came by a bottle of their Le Saisonnier as a gift from a friend of over 20+ years, NaKeia, who met Phil, the father-in-law of Corey King – owner & brewer. NaKeia told Phil about her beer-crazy friend in Atlanta and he was kind enough to send her down south with a bottle of this one-batch-deep brew. My friends are awesome.
I’ve always thought that wine and beer are more similar that not, so I decided to invite a few of my wine-adept friends over to enjoy the bottle and to especially impart their wisdom about oaky versus buttery notes, noses, legs and the other things that wine connoisseurs like to point out. Here’s a summary of our collective thoughts and impressions of Le Saisonnier.
The appearance is a beautiful deep amber, almost orange hue and hazy with very light head.
Its aroma is very earthy to begin, followed by a faint wisp of spice that’s quickly rounded out by a fruity and citrusy aroma (I sound like a wine-geek, right?!). We also detected an oaky aroma.
The taste was immediately tart, almost vinegar-like, reminiscent of the pickled peaches that my mom used to make. It has a wild and yeasty tinge that’s softened by hints of stone-fruit nectar, but barely. The tartness really took us all by surprise but pleasantly so. When enjoyed with food – we had flavorful curried salmon spread and gorgonzola and asiago cheeses – Le Saisonnier really came alive. It’s commanding taste stood up very well to the robust curry and pungent cheese flavors.
The mouthfeel was medium bodied with a dry and crisp finish.
Overall, we agreed that the ale was sunny, balanced and refreshing. Truly delightful.
I learned quite a bit from my Wine Snob crew that can easily be applied to beer tasting. I also learned that wine snobs always travel with additional bottles of wine and really good food. We’ll be doing this again soon!
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