Beavertown: Applelation (England: Saison: 8.7% ABV)
Visual: Hazy yellow. Large white head. Moderate carbonation.
Nose: Funky yeast. Soft pastry. Light apple. Fresh buttered popcorn. Pepper. Wheaty.
Body: Apple. Vanilla. Pastry. Buttery shortbread. Custard. Gingerbread. Pepper. Brown bread and sour dough.
Finish: Sweet apple pies. Vanilla. Brown bread. Orange. Oatmeal. Moderate Madeira notes.
Conclusion: Apple in a beer? I’ve wondered a few times how well that would work, but have drunk comparatively few examples to test the hypothesis. This works a lot better than my last experience – the saison gives a soft, but just slightly rustic base to work from. In fact the entire feel is amazingly gentle considering the abv. There is flavour notes that gives hints to the strength, mainly a dry Madeira like finish, but the mouthfeel is amazingly smooth.
The beer feels like mashed up apple pies, pepper and an oatmeal breakfast all shoved into a beer. So, pretty enjoyable then.
It feels laid back with that soft character, using only a small amount of bitterness under the quite natural tasting fruit sweet core. The mix of saison to fruit works well – it goes with a much more gentle saison interpretation than most, not heavy in rustic, spice or hops. The slight rustic element it has gives a slight steam beer/Californian common style feel – an almost direct gas heated kind of thing, which makes it far more easy drinking than a near 9% abv beer should be.
It is very well made, the apple enhances it but does not dominate and that steam beer freshness means it doesn’t get too heavy. If I had to criticise it is that it doesn’t change much – it plays the same notes from beginning to end. Also it feels so sessionable that I want it to be one to take for an easy drinking run, but don’t do that. 9% is dangerous. I may die.
So a good take on an apple beer. I wish it could come in at a lower abv, as a session beer it would be perfect. That is probably impossible, but this is a still a fun use of fruit in beer.
Background: Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit, this time mainly because I love how Beavertown can images look. Plus I love the idea of apple in beer, even if a lot of implementations can let the idea down a bit. Drunk while listening to more of the Superbursts that I grabbed from Warren Ellis’ web site ages back. Don’t seem to be online any more. Anyway, yes, a saison, made with apples I presume from calling itself an “Apple Saison” but they could just be referring to the flavour.