Latest posts by makeitsnowondem (see all)
- Oscar Night 2018 Open Thread – March 4, 2018
- Oscar Preview 2018: Prestige Award Lightning Round – March 1, 2018
- Oscar Preview 2018: Salute Your Shorts – February 28, 2018
Most experts agree that Battlecat, our majestic brown tabby, is the most ferocious cat in the whole wide world. Like the saison, the style of beer I’ll be haranguing you all about today, she was born in a barn and she’s in my refrigerator a lot. She’s also got something in common with the two particular saisons I reviewed this morning: A badass name.
First, a word about this style: The paradigmatic saison is the Belgian classic Saison Dupont, a dry, peppery and effervescent ale that’s one of my maybe fifty or so favorite beers of all time. Those characteristics — dry, peppery, effervescent — are at the heart of what it means to be a saison, so naturally plenty of American brewers ruin it by not letting the yeast — single-celled animals essential to the production of beer and not unlike our Battlecat in their single-minded voraciousness — ferment the beer to dryness, or by heaping in loads of coriander or cardamom or lavender or whatever they can possibly use to mask the naturally spicy esters the yeast produces as a natural byproduct. I hate that shit. It might be the most annoying thing in beer.
Got it? Great! I’ma drink some beers now.
Ryan and the Beaster Bunny is a saison produced by the nomadic Danish brewers of Evil Twin Brewing. Evil Twin are new arrivals in the Texas market, but I was already familiar with them through another channel: their Brooklyn bar Tørst, maybe the best place in the world for a hardcore beers enthusiast. Ryan and the Beaster Bunny follows the traditional saison blueprint to a T, pouring an only slightly hazy straw yellow with a light, fluffy head. It’s tart but not, like, sour, tart, with a melon-like base and a crisp black pepper bite. It’s good. It’s a good saison.
Apex Predator is also a saison, but it’s a very different take on the style. Its brewer, Off Color Brewing, is a small Chicago outfit also responsible for creating the best Berliner weisse I’ve ever had. Apex Predator pours a cloudy straw yellow with, well, a light, fluffy head. “Fluffy” is the word I’d probably use above any other to describe this beer; it feels somehow both light and full on the palate, probably owing in large part to the flaked wheat in the recipe. “Fluffy” is also one of the three words I’d use to describe Battlecat. The other two, fittingly, are “apex predator.” Anyway, this beer’s nothing so much as an explosion of fruit flavor, with orange, pineapple, and grapefruit all vying for the tongue’s attention. Hops, not traditionally a featured part of the saison profile, play a double role here, enhancing the fruity flavor and capping it with some subtle bitterness. If you’ve ever tried Prairie Artisan Ales Hop Saison, that’d give you an idea what to expect from Apex Predator, but in any case: This is out there. This is a winner.
tl;dr: Ryan and the Beaster Bunny and Apex Predator are good-ass beers. Drink the first if you want the classic saison experience, or the second if you want you socks blown off by a beer you’ve probably never had anything like. Drink either all year long; a good saison is crisp enough to refresh you during the summer, strong enough to keep you warm in the winter, complex enough to pair with all manner of traditional fall foods, and, well, spring seasonals suck.
lady snow says: I slept through all the beer!
Battlecat says: rowr
Grade: Saisons are great.
make it snow is an alot of beer who couldn’t write this feature last week because he was on vacation, but at least he brought some beer back to review. make it snow has drunk at least 2000 unique beers in his life, and in the process of writing this review he drank a Ryan and the Beaster Bunny, and then an Apex Predator, and then another Ryan and the Beaster Bunny. This is his most seasonally appropriate review to date. His cable package does not include the Big Ten Network.