Sunday, April 24, 2011

473. Stillwater/Mikkeller Our Side

The collabo is back. Well, it never really left, but I do like to occasionally up the ante on my rhetoric. You can consider it my ode to spring. Or something similar. After all, since spring is in the air, I’m feeling feisty. So suck it, post-modernism. But I digress. We’ve tried Stateside Saison from Stillwater, as well as Rauch Geek Breakfast and Simcoe Single Hop IPA from Mikkeller. Combined, they’re the two great tastes that taste great together! Go you crazy gypsy brewers!

Described on the bottle as “a collaborative gypsy ale,” Our Side pours a hazy and dirty gold, sort of like that girl in high school who always claimed she was blond, but really had more of an overall brown look to her hair. The head is mousse-y and white with very good retention, while the nose is a combination of the juicy, floral, and earthy components of a good Belgian yeast mixed with spicy and piney hops—there is more yeast than hops in the nose. You get some solid ridging from the head as you proceed with this beer. Flavors start with light malt sweetness coupled with a fair amount of yeast character—earthy and juicy—before the hop tang of the middle comes into play; hop flavor in the middle includes pine, spice, and resin. There is also a touch of caramel sweetness in front, while the middle features a fair amount of spicy pepperiness that blends well with the hop flavors. The finish is dry but juicy, as is wont with many saisons, and there is fair amount of lingering bitterness from the middle. There is a small amount of alcohol flavor and a decent amount of alcohol warmth in the finish—it works its way down the throat into the chest, lasting well past the hop bitterness. The body is medium; although it is dried out by the carbonation, the hops, and the yeast character, there still is some substance to it. The mouthfeel is bright and crisp—honestly, I find this beer quite refreshing and enjoyable, and Elli seconds these comments. The only potential downside is the alcohol at the end, which detracts from the overall character of the beer. My advice: if you have a bottle, sit on it for six months to allow the alcohol warmth to recede. After all, if this beer is true to its Belgian heritage, it will come out tasting brighter and fresher. While the delicate hop flavors might also reciprocally dissipate, you’ll get something far more enjoyable. Either way, however, a solid and enjoyable beer.

From the bottle: “Mikkel and Brian are two of the world’s most unconventional brewers. By designing beers at various breweries around the globe, they have found the freedom to experiment and innovate, resulting in unique beers that often blur the lines of definition. After having met at a festival in Bodegraven, NL the two realized that their first creations both were called Stateside. It was then an obvious decision to make the two recipes into a new product, packed full of piney, resinous hops, and backed by the esters of a farmhouse yeast strain.”

ABV: 7.5%

Good brewers, yes, but can’t you do something about the prose? Trite and smug, to say the least.


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