have no problem with breweries being experimental with classic styles,
just as long as the result is a tasty, drinkable beer. Anchor Saison is a
very “California-ized” saison with Nelson Sauvin hops, lemongrass,
lemonpeel and ginger. The flavors are a bit odd, which makes for an
interesting palette – though not an especially delectable one. It’s also
surprisingly boozy for the weight. This should be an excellent beer,
but it’s only above average as of now.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 1/27/15 and cost $2.95 ($0.25 per ounce).
Appearance: Surprisingly dark orange hue with crystal clarity. No
visible carbonation. Pours to a small, pinky-sized white foamy head
which dissipates completely and leaves no lacing.
Smell: Citrusy lemon scent plus significant spicy notes. Alcohol is noticeable as well.
Taste: There’s a certain recognizable taste to a saison – due mostly the
yeast – and that’s present here right away. Instead of light, citrusy
and wheaty, this beer is closer to a bigger, bolder, more complex
Belgian-style ale (not unlike a tripel, actually). Spicy to be sure as
those spices create for a zesty, peppery mélange of flavors. Clove and
peppercorn seem to be quite prominent even though this beer does not
contain them (the ginger probably accounts for a lot of that). There’s a
syrupy sweetness here; almost like orange juice concentrate. Not much
in the way of bitterness or hop flavor – maybe just a bit of white wine
on the finish. Vanilla is also featured – reminiscent of a barrel-aged
brew (that’s from the alcohol I’m sure). Not being a fan of ginger this
palette didn’t really do much for me, but I will say that I enjoyed it
more than not.
Drinkability: Though big at 7.2% ABV, Anchor Saison is not exactly a
beastly brew. I’ve had others of the style that were just as big (if not
bigger), yet this feels a lot heavier than it actually is. Alcohol
imparts a lot of warmth in the mouth and lingers in the throat. The
carbonation is surprisingly low – this is a fairly thick and fairly flat
beer. It should be more effervescent and lighter in the mouth (it does
finish clean with little aftertaste – which is nice).