As spring is trying to push it’s head through the first day of May, we find ourselves changing those tap handles over from the stouts and DIPAs of the winter to Saisons and Wits of the spring. The first beer reviewed on this site was a farmhouse ale right around this time a year ago. So it is only fitting that on our anniversary tour of breweries, we run across another review worthy saison.
Apricot Saison (Ghost 191), Adroit Theory Brewing Company (Purcellville, VA)
Saison/Farmhouse Ale, ABV: 8.7%, IBU: 39
Presentation: Tap pour into tulep.
Appearance: Slightly hazy, peach to orange color with white head that dissipated quickly.
Smell: Fleshly fruit predominant, slight wheat/bready notes, very slight must.
Taste: A majority of farmhouse ales are either very bright with strong citrus notes that outweigh the malts or you get a damp/funky saison that has a very earthy musty feel to it with the fruit notes as a back end. This is much closer to the first one. It has the very distinct classic saison taste with a slightly acidic, wheat taste, but then the apricot/peach flavors really clamp down. I equated the finish to that of dried apricots, while others thought it was like the fleshy part of a peach. Either way this moves away from the lemon/orange feel you usually get.
ABV/IBU Mouthfeel: First and foremost, at 8.7%, this is a higher octane saison. No amount of malt can hold that back. The acidity pushes the ABV out there and stays slightly sharp through the taste. But you can get away with it in this beer because the apricot/peach back softens the back end just enough.
Overall: I like seeing saisons make a huge push this time of year. Depending on what type of saison you have really depends on how long you can really keep it out in the market. The damper/darker saison’s market ‘expiration’ date is usually around early to mid June when the weather heats up, but the brighter ‘Florida’ like farmhouse ales can be enjoyed well into the peak of summer. This one will hold up for several months now, although at 8.7%, ya might want to watch how many you have.