As my esteemed colleague Josh Jackson already documented, The Bruery’s seasonal-release Saison de Lente is so perfectly suited to springtime consumption that it ranked second in a long list of beers that drop this time each year. So when I opened it recently—after my home town of Washington, D.C., endured yet another in a endless onslaught of snow and cold temperatures—it was both an act of defiance against the weather, and a slight attempt to find some hope that this winter of polar vortexes will eventually end.
The label promises an almost spring harvest-like experience with its heady mixture of bright hops and rustic Brettonomyces. And its light blond color denotes the future bloom of dandelions in May, with a slightly carbonated, inviting effervescence. Surprisingly, you don’t get a burst of funk on the nose; it creeps in slowly as the beer warms, but for a beer with a fair dose of Brett, the barnyard aromas are surprisingly reserved. Instead, the nose remains rather low-key—fresh and reserved, but not overwhelming. That subtly carries through on the first sip, with pineapple, apricot, the tart element of lemon, all tempered by floral hops. Then the funkier elements creep in, like a quiet drumbeat that starts to build but never reaches crescendo, leading to a crisp, refreshing finish.
As with all of The Bruery’s releases, the Saison de Lente is bottle-conditioned. Give the bottle a bit of patience, and the flavors will evolve; the funkiness should rise in volume, while the hoppier elements fade out. Indeed, other tasters on Beer Advocate make note of a more boisterous aroma that was absent when I defied the weather gods and opened it on that cold, snowy evening. But in my defense, the calendar did say it was spring, even if it snowed all damn day.
I’ll just have to find another bottle to enjoy when the sun finally starts to feel warm.
Whenever that happens.
Brewery: The Bruery
City: Placentia, California
Availability: Limited Release Each Spring in 750ML Bottles