Mary of the Gæl (Mystic Brewery)

Style: American Saison

6.7% ABV

21 IBU’s

OG: 14.2° Plato

Fermented in square fermenters using Mystic’s house-cultivated cultures.

Unfiltered, Unpasturized and Bottle-Conditioned.

Batch 001

From: Chelsea, MA

Brewer’s Note: “St. Brigid’s Day (AKA Mary of the Gael) is celebrated in Ireland at the time of imbolic, a once pagan celebration of “Summer in the Belly of Winter.”  This release in our series of seasonal saisons is a refreshingly hoppy take on saison for springtime.  Mary of the Gael has a simple base of Pilsner malt, a touch of honey malt and is dry-hopped with a copious amount of floral hops.”

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The beer’s label is crisp and pretty.  It marries the old world Celtic knot and bundles of hay (?) with beautifully thick and textured paper and a great spring coloring of milky white and fresh, Irish green.  The fonts are all clean yet fancy and funky, and clutter is mostly kept non-existent, except for on the bottom of the label where the beer name, style, and place of origin are all a little tightly cramped.  I love all of the information they provide on the sides of the label, and I love the cork and cage design for Mystic beers.  This label is worthy of the shelving for sure.  You should proudly display it.

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The beer pours a rusty brown with some light golden hints.  It pours with a rocky head of medium sized, sand colored bubbles, and leaves a lacing of thin dry streaks on the glass.  In body, the beer is a murky haze of muddy water.  On the nose, the beer smells of sweet and grassy hops with a nice underlying saison funk that brings prickly hay and slight bready malts.  The hops also bring a nice floral quality to the beer, and there is an underlying smell of citrus lemon in the beer.  On the tongue, the beer tastes dry and bitter with a nice herbal salt character and little touches of citric sweetness.  The flavors begin as sweet malt, but is immediately dried out by grassy hops and touches of lemon bread.  A salty flavor does works its way into the beer, mixing with the more herbal aspects of the grassy hops, and leaving a nice savory feel to the mouth.  The finish is longer, and brings yeasty funk and grassy hops to the forefront of the palate, with nice citric nuances.  The aftertaste is a grassy bitter with light bready yeast flavors lingering.  In the mouth, the beer feels on the plus side of medium in body with a nice weight behind each sip.  The carbonation in the beer is smooth and creamy with only the faintest ghost of a prickle on the tongue, and the beer’s superb dryness allows this carbonation to work beautifully with the beer.  The mouth is left wet with acid neutralizing spit, and with a lingering herbal dryness on the top of the tongue.  Overall, this is a superb saison, and perhaps one of my favorites in the style.  Mystic really has a way with the saisons, and this might be there best yet!  Superb dryness and rich nuanced flavors blend perfectly together in this beer.

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For fun, I tried pairing this beer with my cheap, grocery store sushi.  The sushi was probably a day old, and consisted of some mushy California roles with some nice umami flavor and a bit of fish funk, a crab stick nigiri, a shrimp tail nigiri roll, a trout nigiri roll, a tuna nigiri roll, and a salmon nigiri roll.  The beer tended to kill off some of the more subtle flavors of the crabstick, though the fish funk did stand nicely with the beer.  With the shrimp, the beer brought forward the sweet of the meat and buried most of the other flavors.  The shrimp was definitely a little dry at this point, but the sweetness was interesting, and some of the beer’s grassier bitter notes were actually covered up by the shrimp.  With the trout, the beer brought out some spicy tones in the fish and in the sauce on the fish.  Big fish funk and softer umami flavors also came out in the fish and in the beer, and the salt of the beer was lost.  With the tuna, I found the beer brought much more character from the sesame seeds in the rice and rice itself.  The tuna’s flavors are a little soft for the beer, but it felt nice alongside the carbonation of the beer.  The salmon, meanwhile, had lots of the fishy character and that was brought out beautifully by the beer, and then scrubbed nicely away by the carbonation.  The beer even developed a slight, peppery spice with the salmon, which is great.  The California role I saved for last, and it actually paired the nicest with the beer.  The cucumber and avocado flavors were both brought out nicely and melded together while the fishy flavor was dampened slightly, but then rounded into the yeasty flavor of the fish.  Overall, I would advise pairing this beer with a fresh California role from a nice sushi shop before you try to pair it with grocery store sushi, but overall the California role, with its multiple ingredients, allowed for enough interplay between the different flavors of the beer and sushi.  I think I want something a little bolder to be paired with this saison, though.  I think that a light pizza, or even pork or chicken dishes might play very nicely with it.  Try it out!

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4.51/5

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