The Season for Sour – Boquebiere’s Wild Yeast Saison Punches the Palate

Boquebiere, a microbrewery located in Sherbrooke Quebec, is relatively new to the Quebec scene, but has quickly become one of my favorite craft  beer producers in the province. They have quite an extensive list of offerings, ranging from a bunch of IPA’s, to smoked porters, an imperial stout, and a pretty solid line up of Belgian beers.

Today I’ll be reviewing their “Saison Brux,” which is a hybrid beer of sorts.  In the past I’ve talked a bit about Saison beers, and without going into too much detail, I’ll give a brief background. Essentially the style originates from Belgian farmhouses, where they brewed full bodied, but refreshingly tart beer in order to feed the workers during the summer months, when brewing was not possible because of the effect heat had on the brewing process. They started off being quite low in alcohol, so that the farmers would get sustenance, without getting hammered (poor farmers). Saisons have become one of my favorite styles of beer and I currently have quite a few siting in my cellar, so I will probably be posting quite many more articles on them. So stay tuned! What makes this particular Saison different from the rest is that they also introduced some wild yeast into the brewing process. By doing so, the beer should take on a much more sour then normal taste.  But let’s see!

IMG_2123Saison Brux pours out a beautiful orange amber color with reddish pink highlights, and a nice two finger frothy head. On the nose I’m getting lots of acidic sour aromas, citrus fruit, and tart apples mixed with a spicy, and peppery smell from the yeast.  It’s all around quite zesty, along with a powerful bubble gum ester that is quite interesting. I have read up on this “bubble gum” smell/taste, and apparently it’s a by product of certain yeast strains. I’m not complaining though, I quite like it.

At first the dominant taste is the tart and sour acidity and although it’s more sour then most Saisons, there is still the usual fruity character, with apples, peaches, strawberries & IMG_2122rhubarb coming out nicely. It’s a little bit sweet, which balances beautifully against the sour and bitter characters. The spicy yeast flavor is also a huge part of this one, with pepper, cloves, cardamon and lots of zesty bubble gum essence coming through. The fruitiness hits first, followed by  a subtle sweetness, and then ends in a hugely sour, yet minimally bitter finish, which cuts through everything and lingers nicely, leaving a tart and fruity aftertaste on the back of your tongue. This beer has a nice creamy and big body, but is still quite refreshing given the sour/zesty flavors and the hefty effervescent carbonation.

This was certainly another solid beer from one of my favorite breweries.  I’m only starting to experiments with different sour beers, and have not quite developed a taste for them just yet.  This was a perfect marriage for me,  I love Saisons – they naturally have a fruity tartness to them, and the added wild yeast in this case amplified this character to new levels of sour, whilst still keeping everything balanced and in check. These seems to be sold out around the Montreal region, but Boquebiere release a lot of different styles and they usually come back around at some point.