Fantome: Saison (Belgium: Saison: 8%)
Visual: Deep banana yellow. Tiny amount of sediment visible. Cloudy body. Very large yellowed bubbled head.
Nose: Strawberry yogurt. Wheat and bitterness. Red cherries. Banana sweets. Vanilla. Coriander.
Body: Good bitterness. Berry pocked biscuits. Lemon. Wheat. Strawberry, but in a spiced way? Light milky or ice cream like touch. Pepper. Chilli seeds. Orange notes.
Finish: Dried red berries. Big bitterness. Wheat. Coriander and warming spices. Funky yeast and banana. Key lime.
Conclusion: Fantome. Finally. I’ve been looking for beers from this lot for ages. Now I have it, poured out in my glass, ready for consumption. The quest’s end. The denouement.
This is…actually well worth the wait. It is a beer of distinct saison style, neither feeling the need to tone it down for the wider market, nor feeling the need to mimic the awesome Saison Dupont. Which is good. I mean Saison Dupont is great, but we already have that.
This is lovely in its bitterness, smooth in texture with an ice cream creaminess, spiced and yet doing that spice like spiced red berries and strawberries. Do people even spice strawberries? I don’t know, probably, people are perverts and will try anything. I mean that in a good way. Anyway that is somehow what it tastes like. It is smooth, bitter, sweet, earthy and fruity. Oh fuck yes!
There is heat from the spice, and a chilli seed character that gently works to warm you. Also the abv probably helps, but mainly the spice. It is great, the berries and creaminess call to, well, strawberries and cream, but the earthy bitterness and spice call to a rustic farmlands and,,,,
Hold on, strawberries and cream. Farmlands. Is this a deliberate parody of the epitome of British summer? Well played Belgium well played. Beat us at our own stereotypes.
Anyway, a beer to share as the big flavours and earthiness can get a bit heavy over the full 750ml bottle but as that, yeah, it is great. Up there with Dupont. Just drink it.
Background: Fantome saison! Not that you would know by looking at the bottle which says “Fantome: Biere Artisanale Sur Lie”, but trust me, it is the saison, I have checked. Anyway, this was picked up from Brewdog Bristol. Bristol! I have been searching for Fantome beers for sodding ages, including during two visits to Belgium AND I FIND IT IN SODDING BRISTOL. Fantome beers have a good rep, though are held to a bit varied between batches. This was drunk while listening to Bad Religion: Recipe For Hate, the first Bad Religion album I ever bought and still one of my favourites.