Beers like this are why living near a brewery is the bestest thing ever.
To be specific, I had retired to my pajamas at something like 5:15 or so in the evening because, you know, comfortable. Also tired. I was surfing the internet and had twitter (among other things) up, when I saw a tweet from Free State that the Brewers Choice* was their Saison aged with hibiscus. Being an avowed fan of the only other hibiscus beer I’ve ever tripped over, I was fully clothed and walking to the brewery something like three minutes after I saw the tweet.
Here’s the beer that got me out of pajamas:
For the record, it’s roughly a shade pinker in real life.
Name: Brewers Choice (Saison aged with hibiscus flower)
Origin: Free State Brewery, Lawrence, KS
ABV: no idea
IBU: not very high. Or rather, really low. The pre-aged Saison had an IBU level of 12. This isn’t any higher, but I don’t know that it would have lowered during the aging process either.
I drank this: on tap at the brewery
As I said in the review I linked to above, the original beer was a lovely mess of rosehip and herbs, definitely honeyed, with something of the bananaclove yeasty feel to it. I was pretty big on it given my general dislike of Belgian-style yeasty funk (a typical feature of Saisons).
Aged for a while, the Saison has gained a soft, almost velvety mouthfeel (mouthfeel is one of the best things about aged beers, seriously). The honeyed sort of sweetness has disappeared, as has the yeast flavor, toned down by the aging and by the hibiscus. The hibiscus flavor is lovely and strong enough to be noticeable - it’s somehow reminiscent of a mishmash of tropical fruits and green tea. That said, something about the combination of the yeast with the sort of pineapple/tea flavors of hibiscus combined in a way that made me think of green apple Jolly Ranchers. It’s not that it was a candysweet beer - it was basically off-dry - or that apple was in any way involved. It’s just the thing that popped into my head for a moment, and it made me laugh at myself. So I’m sharing.
So the beer was good and I’m happy I got to have some, even if it did require me putting on real pants. Seriously, this is the best thing about being near a brewery – discovering that they’re tapping something that sounds bloody fascinating, something that will never be bottled or shipped or even still available by the end of the night, and then being able to procure the said beer in under ten minutes. If you’re near enough to a brewery, check to see if/when they tap casks or aged beers or reserves or anything of the sort – it’s a great way to try all sorts of weirdness while seeing just how creative the brewers have gotten.
Plus, you know. Beer. Good beer.
*The lack of apostrophe is how they did it (at least on twitter), so I’m following their grammar. It is making me twitch, I have to admit.