Knowledge, understanding and skill are three words that you don’t usually see on beer labels. However, all three are required when it comes to making the stuff and Burning Sky’s Saisons are no exception. With a mix of ingredients, from the typical to the foraged, these complex Saisons show off these requirements beautifully.
You mustn’t forget time either, with each of the barrel aged batches the beers evolve and have subtle differences in each iteration. You may revisit these beer in twelve months time and discover different nuances of flavour or some other characteristic that just wasn’t there previously.
But for now, we’ll enjoy them as they stand. So pull up a chair, grab a glass, and enjoy, all the saisons.
Is it really breakfast time already? Slightly sour cornflakes overwhelm your nose. They’re drenched in spicy saison with a rose hip topping, so it’s cool to take them now. The beautiful cereal maltiness resists diminishment and holds up well against the spice, but the spice doesn’t let go either, lick your lips, can you feel it?
Saison yeast, hops, rose hips, cereal killer malts, what more do you want? Who me? Another bottle perhaps. For now I’ll keep going with this though; a certain grape element is making itself known, not massively, but it lingers in your nose, your throat and on your tongue. It softens, and becomes more cereal. Breakfast indeed.
Saison Le Printemps.
Spicy, gingery, becoming saison funky, hoppy aroma hits you. Not too heavy on the pepper but it gives a little warning of its presence. Bready malts ensue, carrying along with them the fruits of the hops. The beer’s fresh and the malts end up giving a satisfying, sweet, sugary, almost Loveheart tinge.
It remains hoppy, with some lashings of citrus thrown in. But wait, the pepper is back, it’s clinging on for dear life as the beer ends, but that warm, spicy, dry finish is so good. And five minutes later, your lips are still peppered.
Saison à la Provision.
Bit of a tart in your hands now. It’s still saison, but with a massive tart sourness that makes you brush your teeth with your tongue. What else do you find in there? Gorgeous saison yeast, beautiful bready malts, a warming spice. White wine musk too, or is that just showing off? The malts dominate, but don’t overpower. The extra abv also makes itself known. Not in a bad way, but it adds a hugging warmth that the others here don’t have.
The finish is still incredibly tart, and the brett is there too, but it’s right at the back. You all know it’s there, but it’s under complete control. Just like the naughty kid who’s been sent to the back of the class. Still mouthy and wants to make his presence known, but if he steps out of line, you know he’s gonna get it. And get it he does from the glorious malts. They keep him in check alright.
Saison l Été.
Who knew you could have such a thing as a gooseberry sandwich. Well you can, and yours is served with a fresh elderflower pressé on the side. It’s a tart awakening that’s sweet and smooth. The beautiful malts fall neatly in line behind that gooseberry sharpness presented at the start.
It’s luscious as it makes its way through your teeth. But the sharpness keeps prickling away; jaws clench like a thirst quenched snare as a shoal of gooseberries meander through. Some sour malts finish the bite as it beckons you in for more. And as your glass becomes empty, the elderflower makes itself known. It adds a mild floral finish to the malty saison funk.
Funky, bready, white wine grape aroma. Light herb notes with a savoury spice. Let it breathe, without forgetting to give yourself time to breathe. Put some on your tongue. Feel it glide around, leaving little hints of its contents behind. Spices tickle, bubbles tickle, that wine dryness doesn’t tickle, but it mops up well leaving a nice tart bite and slightly sweet grain behind.
Sit back, admire, but feel sorry for your empty glass. Do it a favour and put it out of its misery. The warmer the saison, the grainier it becomes, not in texture though. The wine side is relaxed, becoming lemony, but retains that Chardonnay musk. Three glasses in and things are getting a little funky. Concentrate. A previously hidden hoppiness is now evident, subtle, but delightful. It does well to inhibit the musk, making this beer end just like a funky saison should.
Cuvée Reserve 2015-2016.
A relatively calm collection of earthy oak, sour grapes and apples, and bready malts sit before you. Relaxed carbonation requires a little encouragement prior to their nasal journey. Entry is confirmed, but due only to the funk they bring.
Take a sip. Lip smack like a face plant, this sour tart unleashed. Musk, perfumes its way around, leaving trinkets, dotted of sweet malts and the sour blend. It’s aged, grown up perhaps, but still full of the vigour of Provision. A late spice, hearing of the funk wants in, could it be too late? The party is drying, but the spice takes a hold. Delicate malts are left in the wake. Persistent are the fruits, slightly fermented perhaps, but sweet and inviting. And the bread is there to catch you on the way down, softening the sour blow.
So the next time you find yourself sat in a field waiting for the sun to rise, don’t think, look at that burning sky. Think, I need some Burning Sky.