Friday, March 2, 2012

Misconceptions - Beereview: Urthel Saisonniere

I bought an Urthel Saisonniere beer based on two misconceptions. The first was that it was brewed by Urquell and second was that Urquell was La Chouffe. There's actually a third misconception generated from these other two (a meta-misconception if you will) that I like Urquell, which I don't. Apparently in my mind "Gnome" plus something starting with a "Urt" equals La Chouffe. So anyway, I'm going into this review totally  blind.

Urthel Saisonniere is a bottle conditioned unfiltered Blonde Special Ale, and no, I have no idea what that means either. I have some hunches though; normally special means extra special bitter (ESB) but that really doesn't match a Blonde ale. I'm not terribly familiar with the saison style, so I'm probably missing something here. A unfiltered bitter blonde seems more like a chain-smoking ex-girlfriend with self image problems than a tasty beer. Let's see how it stacks up...

Beereview: Urthel Saisonniere

The first thing I noticed is that (on pouring) the sludge at the bottom is more of a brunette than a blonde. It was a little offputting but it also made it pretty easy to make sure I wasn't pouring it into my glass.
Being a bottle conditioned beer, it's very active but surprisingly: the head retention is also great. I'm not used to seeing a full head stick around on such a light looking beer, nor do I usually expect a full head from a blonde (bad pun, sorry.)

This beer is only slightly cloudy and sort of a pale amber in color. The aroma isn't hoppy or malty exactly, it smells quite grainy like pilsner. It's got a strong sour aroma, but it's more like the basic beer smell than any kind of fruit, although it does have a nice sweet finish.

The flavor starts off very bitter but quickly turns into something I can only describe as sweet melon. The bitterness sticks around until the end, so I wouldn't exactly call it an aftertaste. It's more like a bitter shock that slowly wears off with some fleeting sweetness in the middle. It's probably fair to call this flavor "woody." After a few swallows the sweetness can't really be tasted anymore. I was totally fooled by the lack of a hoppy aroma, and I kind of wish I was having this with some food. I think it would probably go well with some coconut shrimp or chicken fingers, but what doesn't?

Overall, this is a pretty good blonde but the bitterness and sourness won't appeal to a lot of people. I don't think I'd recommend it, but I probably just don't like the saison style. I'd be looking for something a bit lighter for refreshment and something a little less dominant to have with a meal.

Have you tried this? What did you like about it? Let me know in the comments below!

1 comment:

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