Strap in, we are about to get into another Strangeways review. This was the second beer from our ‘Richmond Roundup’ tailgate, which provided a very interesting break from the daily festivities. If this is your first foray into Strangeways, or you haven’t been paying attention, shame on you. I envision what goes on there is one of those mad scientists from those 1950s movies with white hair standing over boiling wort cackling at the top of his lungs. It probably is a little more subdued than that, but not by much. This go around, take a little known variety of a saison, hit it with flowers, and age it in oak wine barrels. And if you made it though that sentence, let’s go further down the rabbit hole.
Delightfully Immoral Grisette, Strangeways Brewing Co. (Richmond, VA)
Grisette/Saison, ABV: 5.8%, IBU: 39
Presentation: Bottle with tasting notes from clear solo cup (again, keeping it classy during a tailgate)
Appearance: Orange semi-opaque appearance with off white head dissipating at a decent rate.
Smell: Floral aroma with citrus and light grape notes.
Taste: The base for this beer is an older French version of what we refer to as a saison. It is more acidic and that shows off the bat with a kick as a result of both the fermentation and the time in the wine barrels. But the predominate flavor is from the addition of lavender and heather, which is close to overpowering if it was not for the oak aging. The detection of typical saison citrus and spice are evident, but muted, on the back end.
ABV/IBU Feel: Again, this is a slightly acidic beer and one that is hard to tell if it is from the beer or the alcohol, but it is a little sharp. The woodiness of the oak slightly dries out the acidic on the back and there is very, very little hoppiness to the overall mouth feel.
Overall: It is hard to categorize where anything from Strangeways would fall, but that is the beauty in it. The double edged sword with this is that you will either (1) be shied away from experimental beers and would not even try or (2) love the process and differences in these types of beers and laud their accomplishment. I try to look at the base for the beer, then take the accomplishment of variety and put that all together. On it’s own, the saison would border on a gueze with the level of lacticity but the addition of the floral components and oak makes it more palatable. Again, it is a beer that needs to be shared and appreciated. It is one that can really only be enjoyed in small doses, but it is a delightful dose.