SWB Nettle & Ginger Saison: An Open Plea
Dear James and Andy:
I hope this post finds you well. After reading up on your London exploits, I’m sure it finds you very well. Anyway, I just thought I’d drop you a little note to let you (and the attractive, well-informed and discerning readership of TGS) what I thought of your new Saison. After all, that’s what it’s about, right?
When I heard (a while ago, actually – what have you been doing?) that you were thinking of Saison, I smiled and nodded. I like. I like a lot. As it goes, I’m not incredibly well-versed in Saison; along with Lambic, it’s a style that I really do need to wise up on, although as a lover of sourness and funk, it’s right up my strasse. Since then – purely incidentally – there’s been a little mini-explosion in SaisonLand. Zak wrote an excellent little post about it a few weeks ago, as it happens. Then you’ve got the Pretty Things invasion, and some wonderful little GBBF-drunk Saison hybrids such as De Molen Hout & Hop and Mikeller’s Drinkin’ in The Sun; turns out in the last few weeks I’ve drunk loads of this kind of beer. I was worried. Would yours, long-awaited and drooled-over, be any good?
As it turns out, (thank Christ) it is, but I got a strange reaction that I swear has never happened before so up-front. My first reaction was not ‘wow, that’s a great beer’ like usual, it was ‘How do I get this home?’ Because as soon as I sipped it, I thought about food. Seriously. Your Nettle & Ginger Saison got the foodie in me going; that big sherbert-lemon heart, that warming, rounded gingerness and ever-so-slight yeasty funk conjured up Steamed fish, Ginger, Chilli, Lemongrass; Sumac; all kinds of Eastern flavours. It would all fit together better than The Chuckle Brothers. I know you two, you must have thought that yourself, right?
Or am I reading too much into it? It is sweet, sweet enough for Pale Ale fans to seriously give this a go – much like the Mikeller efforts, with the funky/bretty wildness not being too overpowering, I reckon this would easily fit into the seriously well-herbed, well-flavoured Blonde ale category too. And that’s a good thing; because the thing that stops a popular style being plundered too much is quality; the ‘fakes’ get bottomed out quickly. Your Ginger and Nettle is simply an addition to the canon, rather than a definitive take. I wouldn’t expect anything less. I couldn’t drink tonnes of it, but I suspect that really isn’t the point.
So, please, please please. Bottle this. So I can do what I wanted to do standing at Dean’s bar; really bring out those flavours with some awesome eats. Make me happy.
Thanks, your ever-loving, beardy pal –