Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sour saison and a little Yella Pils

Well, major health scare declared over.

I've been feeling better, but I haven't been as gung ho about writing about beer as in the past. The whole experience has had me thinking differently about beer. I'm more interested in just taking a few notes about a particular beer or just plain enjoying it than trying to imitate some kind of beer "journalist" or writer by updating my blog at least once a week. I've found that writing can sort of take the fun out of having a beer; it can sort of get in way of the experience and make it less natural. That said, here I am in front of the computer screen with an interesting beer and I feel compelled to say something about it or at least record my observations.

I traveled to Wisconsin this past weekend and the trip included and obligatory stop at a Woodman's in Madison. It was there that I found an incredible selection of beer, but since I've been drinking less I picked up a just a few things of interest: a four-pack of New Glarus Imperial Saison, a six-pack of Oskar Blues Little Yella Pils and a four-pack of Konig Pilsner half-liter cans (the Konig really was for Carol, since it's one of her favorite German lagers.)

I popped open a can of the Little Yella Pils last night upon returning home. It was quite tasty and seemed a bit more refined than some other American-made pilsners. It had just right amount of bitterness combined with a smooth malt character and firmness with just the right amount of dryness in the finish -- a very good uncomplicated beer.

Tonight is something altogether different, I'm sipping what spurred me to write. I'm having one of the New Glarus bottles and it is the opposite of the Yella Pils: it is complex and sour. The Imperial Saison is orange colored and has a sour aroma; sort of like rotting peaches with a bit of vanilla and then something not so good. Cat pee. Just a hint of it mind you, but enough to put the beer aside for a bit and sort of let it air out. This beer tastes pretty much like no other saison I've had before; there are bright sour flavors that don't typically make their way into a traditional saison -- but who says American brewers follow tradition? There are some good fruit flavors here, with apricot and apple but the sourness permeates and somehow doesn't add to the experience, but detracts from it. Perhaps it's the cidery character that sneaks up on me after a few sips that's a turn off -- I'm not sure -- maybe I'm just not in the mood for a sour beer. Unfortunately, this beer doesn't get any points for its appearance, as it is hazy and appears flat with no head. I think I'll give the remaining bottles some months or years in the cellar and see what happens. The results could be interesting, but as this point I'm less than excited about this one. Anyone beg to disagree?