Fantome Magic Ghost

Fantome: Magic Ghost (Belgium: Saison: 8% ABV)

Visual: Deep lime green. Huge green touched head. Large amounts of carbonation.

Nose: Sweet lime juice and lime jelly. Green tea. Light rustic.

Body: Light earthy character and solid bitterness. Slightly milky mid body. Green tea. Sweet lime. Pepper and rustic notes. Vanilla toffee. Orange zest. Custard.

Finish: Dry. Oats. Good bitterness. Lime jelly. Good hop character. Tannins. Orange zest. Cherry pocked biscuits.

Conclusion: Comparison time! While this is green tea heavy it is not as a pure expression or as quality green tea tasting as Stone’s Ishii Japanese Green Tea IPA. It is however the only one that is actually green. While this is not as pure green tea tasting it does mean that, while not as good for the green tea element, as a balanced beer it probably comes out ahead.

The rustic, quality, bitter saison base is still very evident – with earthy hops and a slightly milky mouthfeel. Some of the wonderful subtleties of a Fantome saison do fall slightly before the green tea, but thankfully the tea brings enough of its own to compensate. In the midst of the two elements is a lime jelly kind of taste, a sweetness that keep the two heavy main flavours from clashing together. I am not sure if that lime is from the beer, the tea, or a mix of the two but the ease from the heavier elements that it brings is vital to the overall beer.

Oddly lime jelly seems to be a thing with green beers – it was last seen in “Signs Of Spring”. Oh, this beer is very bright green BTW, It looks lovely on the eye, and here thankfully matched with a quality beer rather than just as a weak gimmick.

It is done excellently, there are added notes such as pepper dryness and orange zest along with vanilla sweetness. Fantome knows exactly which elements would round and complete the beer. Sweet and fresh notes to wake up the savoury heavy base beer and special ingredient.

It doesn’t quite have the crisp perfection of some of their other beers, but what it lacks in crisp perfection it makes up with depth of character and being the wonderful beer and green tea mix that doesn’t skimp on either side of that equation.

A green beer that is far more than a gimmick, instead great and gorgeous.

Background: I keep going to write this as “Green Ghost” I mean, come on, it even has alliteration! But no, Magic Ghost it is. I am a huge fan of Fantome and they seem to be getting slightly easier to get hold of these days. This one, a saison made with green tea, was grabbed from Brewdog’s Guest Beer section. Well I think it is a sasion and so does beer advocate. Rate beer calls it a Belgian strong ale. I think I am right. But, of course I would. Drunk while listening to lots of New Model Army, I am so glad I saw those guys live as it really got me into their stuff.