This Belgian-style Saison is brewed with black peppercorns, and locally-sourced mandarin oranges of which a portion was grown at the Abbey of New Clairvaux. Aromas are akin to gingerbread, white grapes, nutmeg, grass, and honey. On the front of the palate, lemon and black pepper attack immediately, pairing with floral hops that arise with spice and zeal. Herbal notes arise midway with a highlight of bitter citrus zest. Mandarin oranges fill the finish, contributing a fresh, natural flavor. At this point, I find lots of reference to dried fruit in the form of green apple, pear, peach, and apricot. Belgian yeast makes its way to the front with a light addition of banana and clove. A vinous character like that of white wine creates further definition and character. The mouthfeel is bubbly and crisp, smooth in the middle, dry on the finish.
I have to say, I was expecting a typical Saison, but this is anything but ordinary. As you may distinguish from its deep color, the malts are particularly robust in flavor, balanced equally by considerably strong hops. I would like to make clear, I only mean ‘considerably strong’ in relation to the standard guidelines of the Saison style of which hearty malts and hops are uncharacteristic. The character of the roast is a little too heavy. Still, it manages to retain a light-hearted approach, revealing a plentitude of fruity notes to enjoy. The flavor profile would pair perfectly with grilled trout, which sounds delicious. While this doesn’t compare to other Saisons, this West Coast approach is fun and original. If you’re a fan of lighter-bodied Belgians, I recommend it.
Malts: Estate grown two-row Pale, Wheat, Caramel
Hops: Summit, Styrian Golding, El Dorado, Mandarina Bavaria