Drinking on a Monday is a short column where I share that one bottle that I open after the most dreadful of all weekdays.
Spring really makes me take some time away from the hop forward beers and focus a little bit more on sessionable, crisp ales. I really love a good kolsch or craft lager, but its saisons that are really doing it for me right now. I’ve been stocking up on some releases from Prairie Artisan Ales and some other favorite farmhouse breweries, but with Stone releasing their first seasonal saison this month, I was eager to check it out. Its funny how this beer has generated a lot of buzz because Stone’s not really known for this style, but they aren’t exactly strangers to it either. With their collaborations on Saison du Buff and The Perfect Crime Smoked Saison, they certainly have had their hand in pumping out more balanced farmhouse styles. I personally really enjoyed The Perfect Crime, and while the Saison du Buff was a little to heavy on the herbs, it certainly worked for a lot of people.
Stone Saison pours a golden straw color with a bright white, quickly dissipating head. The aroma on this is lighter than expected for a Stone beer, with the bready belgian yeast followed by a nice herbal lemon scent. Neither is overpowering though and the nose doesn’t scream ‘STONE!’ the way many of their beers do. The taste follows the aroma’s lead and its – dare I say it – balanced? Much more even-handed than most of the belgian-inspired stuff I’ve had from Stone lately. Nice bready malt and yeast, followed by some herbal flavor of thyme and lavender with some lemon as well. Not much hop bite but there’s a great grassy backbone. There’s a great pepperiness in the finish, which I would have assumed from from the hops, but I know better. There’s quite a bit of carbonation here and with its medium body, it goes down quite easy. Personally, I feel like it leans a bit too much on the herbal notes, and would like a bit more from the pepper/heat, but that’s probably just me.
This beer definitely brings to mind Saison du Buff for me, with such a central herb focus, but there’s more going on here to balance everything out. It doesn’t feel like a Stone beer, that’s for sure, but its doesn’t quite fit into the American farmhouse movement either. As with the Matt’s Burning Rosids, its exciting to see Stone branch out in new directions, especially with this release in 12oz bottles. I would buy this again, although with more and more saisons flooding the market its going to be interesting which ones rise to the top.