The Bruery Saison Rue at Lighthouse Beer & Wine
Predicting beer sales can be quite a delicate task. There are the huge releases, ones that rarely see the light of day. Then there are beers that last about two weeks in the shop. When a beer lasts through this it can expect to sit on the shelf with all the others for a good bit whilst it waits to get a breath of fresh air. For some beers this latent period is a terrible thing, IPAs, for example, are going crazy in the bottle like a stir crazy prisoner itching to get released. Stouts, Tripels, Quads, Old style beer, these are more similar to a true gangster, built to last; prison changes them only because they are getting older. Then there’s a whole different class of beers, beers that go into “prison” and they learn, they become more complex, they take advantage of their time on the shelf studying up and working out. This is the class of beers of which The Bruery’s Saison Rue would fit.
Having had this beer when if first came in to the shop (I had to try it “the bros” gave it a 100 out of 100 in 2008) I knew it was good. At the time it was a nice light saison, with light cracked pepper notes from the addition of rye. I really enjoyed it but it was forgotten amongst the inflow of new beers every week. Well, that is, until the other day. I was scrolling through headlines on beerpulse.com and came across a story about the upcoming release of Saison Brett from Boulevard Brewing. I’ve only had this beer once. I really enjoyed it. Reading the story made me want one that day, but alas it would be two to three more weeks before the release of Saison Brett so I went to Lighthouse and did some searching. I couldn’t think of any other saisons aged with Brett exclusively. I searched and searched nothing was clicking and then I spotted a single bottle of Saison Rue… “Perfect!” I thought, not only was this exactly what I was looking for but it had some age on it.
Given time, Brettanomyces will completely change a beer. Brettanomyces or “Brett” is a wild yeast strain, it is a very hungry and busy little critter that has been present in the brewing process likely since it started. There are multiple strains of Brett some that with exhibit tropical fruit notes, others that will bring out funky flavors like horse sweat and cat pee. Depending on what the brewer is looking for he/she can choose a strain that will complement, or contrast (see Brettpeat Daydream) their brew. Saison Rue exhibits all of the barnyard funky characteristics of Brett if given time to do so and I hoped that this bottle had been around long enough. I rushed home on my bike and busted out my favorite tulip glass, threw on Game of Thrones, popped open the bottle and lightly poured it into my glass.
The color is a clear golden/amber with a bright white head that lasts about as long as the beer stays in one’s glass. Aromas of green banana, pepper, funk (as if one had just walked into a horse barn), some more faint smells of citrus fruit shine through. I swirled it around in my glass, the carbonation present was perfect and lasting. This beer never went flat as I drank it or as it warmed. The mouth feel is similar to that of cold dry champagne on a hot day, lightly prickly, in a good way, similar to fresh peaches or mango. The taste is layer after layer. Upfront is a nice hoppy bite, flavors of green apple and slight bitterness. Next comes a wave of flavors similar to some of the best Belgian style triples, banana shines through and transitions nicely into a spicy cracked pepper note. Around this time I started to notice a slight tartness likely from the Brett. This tartness along with flavors of, green banana, apple, straw, and pepper lead though the fantastic finish. I drank this beer in about twenty minutes and the only thing I could think about the next morning was how I was going to find another bottle in Wilmington. I went back to Lighthouse looked around and low and behold… almost a whole case of it, mistakenly cellared, and ready to drink. I almost brought the whole thing home but that wouldn’t be very good for you, now would it?