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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Roots Saison

In the A&E friday, John Foyston mentioned that Roots had a new saison on tap--a nice way to break a beer fast of a week, my favorite beer style and one of my favorite breweries.

Saisons are an artisan style and feature pretty broad variability in ingredients. Some, like Dupont, are purely reinheitsgebot (water, malt, hops, yeast), while others have a variety of botanicals. Roots' versions is the latter, and in a couple of ways, strains the style a bit. But as always, the brewers have gone for a bold interpretation, and what results is tasty and mighty quaffable.

From memory, the adjuncts they used were hibiscus blossoms, sweet orange peel, "lemon zest" (your guess is as good as mine), and pink peppercorn. The style is generally spicy and peppery, a quality usually achieved through hops; Roots forsake sharp hopping and draw the flavors out with these adjuncts. The balance was tilted a little heavy toward the floral, and was a little light on the pepper. In other saisons, black peppercorn creates a wonderful earthy note that strikes the palate much like some hops. The finish is dry and crisp, as you'd expect.

The downside is the carbonation, which is minimal. Saisons should have a frothy, rocky effervescence that produces a luxurious head and stays lively in the glass. It contributes that characteristic prickliness on the tongue and isn't heavy, despite the strength. I wonder if this is a function of yeast experimentation--possibly it will continue to carbonate in the kegs.

It's something you won't find commonly at a brewpub, so stop in for a pint.


  1. "Lemon zest" is nothing to guess at. It's the yellow stuff on the outside of the lemon. The peel, in other words, but without the white pith. Come on, you knew that. Or could have looked it up. What's up with the beer fast?

  2. Great Post... I used to enjoy beer until I got married. ..shakina..