Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pretty Things Jack D'or


Seems like the two hottest breweries these days are oddly-named ones from Massachusettes (the other being Clown Shoes, of course). I've actually had many of Pretty Things' beers at beer fests and on tap around the Capital District, but I've waited entirely too long to sit down and give one of their beers a proper review. I decided to start with the Jack D'or - a saison which is either their flagship beer, or just their most popular offering (I think).

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (575) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 22, 2011
I poured a 22oz bottle into an oversize wine glass.

Appearance: Dull hazy gold hue with almost no visible carbonation. Forms an average size, foamy head which dissipates almost completely and leaves little lacing on the glass.

Smell: Typical Belgian yeast esters, but not as strong as the real thing. Noticeable farmhouse funk of slight sourness and grass.

Taste: I still don’t understand Americans’ recent obsession with Belgian saison beers. I’ve had the real deal straight from Europe and found them to be boring. American interpretations have been hit or miss with me, but Pretty Things Jack D’or falls right in the middle. Definitely a good beer and a decent American take on the niche Belgian style, but nothing amazing.

What’s so interesting, amazing really, about this beer is how even when it’s in the mouth it still seems to suck all the moisture out of it. Dry is usually a word best described for aftertaste, but here you can actually taste the dryness. That is, for the first few swigs until your palate gets used to it and the more fruity qualities emerge. Lemon is the predominant flavor: lemon pith, lemon grass, lemon peel and even the meat of a lemon itself. But all that minus the acidity and tartness. Throw in some ground black pepper and a hint of Belgian wild yeast sourness and that’s Jack D’or in a nutshell. It’s not what I would consider delicious, but there’s nothing off-putting about it, either.

The sour and farmhouse notes make for an interesting pairing, but it almost seems stale to me. Then again, my bottle was dated March 2011, but it’s bottle conditioned so ideally age should be no factor. It’s just one of those beers that I expected more out of, but was satisfied with what I got.

Mouthfeel: Slightly thick, very soft and tepid. Noticeable dry, peppery aftertaste but it doesn’t linger too long.

Drinkability: This beer is brewed with three Belgian yeast strains, but it has the smooth drinkability of an American craft beer rather than the peppery dance across the tongue often found in authentic Belgian brews. It’s not what I would considering a refreshing beer, though. The 6.4% ABV seems about right as this beer has plenty of body, but isn’t near being obese or a lightweight.

Grade: 7/10