Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saranac Season's Best (2010)

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - JAN 9, 2010
We all know about Oktoberfest beers, but what about Christmas-fest beers? Saranac seems to have created their own style with their Season’s Best Nut Brown Lager. This is a malty beer with a mild flavor not unlike the Oktoberfest style, only this beer is a bit spicier.


Season’s Best pours smoothly to a clear, dark ruby red body with little carbonation present. The head is a perfectly-proportioned layer of slightly off-white foam which lingers for quite a while and leaves an impressive amount of lacing on the glass for a lager. The aroma is rather mild with hops being the most noticeable scent.


I like beers with a deeply roasted and/or nutty taste to them and that’s what I expected Season’s Best to taste like. Since it is a “nut brown lager” I was prepared for something along the lines of an English brown ale, yet this beer reminded me much of a German Oktoberfest.

The palate is quite dry and somewhat bitter but without any of the rich, dark-roasted or nutty flavors I was hoping for. Malts seem to be the dominant ingredient as the beer has a slightly caramel-like flavor, but it’s buried under the dryness. The beer left a significant dry aftertaste but was still very tasty to drink.


Although the overall taste was noticeably dry, Saranac Season’s Best was extremely smooth and easy to drink. There was no rough edge, and it finished quite clean. This might be due to the fact the flavor is quite mild.


Oktoberfest beers are mistakenly thought of as heavy, full-bodied beers, but if that was the case they would all taste like Season’s Best. As a general rule the colder the weather the more heavily-spiced a beer is, so this Christmas-themed beer is truly the weighty, full-bodied beer people mistake Oktoberfests for.

At 5.3% ABV it’s only average in potency and the body is definitely more heavy than it is medium. Still, I was able to breeze through two bottles in a row without feeling full or overwhelmed.


I was hoping for an even tastier, spicier beer, but I don’t think that’s what Saranac was going for with Season’s Best. As a seasonal craft brew it’s a nice alternative and a unique product due to its originality, and that’s a beer worth drinking.

Grade: 7/10

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