Rite of Spring (Enlightenment Ales)

Style: Wild Saison with Honey

6.8% ABV

From: Everett, Ma

Brewery’s Note: “Igor Stravinskis’ Le Sacre du Printemps celebrates both the rebirth and bounty of spring as well as exploring the savagery of human superstition and ritual. With this masterpiece in mind I brewed a Rustic Saison using wild yeast and local honey. Like its musical and vernal inspiration, Rite of Spring is characterized by both delicacy and dissonance. The aromas of spring flowers and fresh oranges that leap forth from the glass are cast against immense earthiness and rustic funk from the wild yeast. Notes of soft fruits, toasty malt, and subtle honey sweetness dance gently around a pronounced bitterness, and ultimately fade into a bone dry finish. As the gloom of winter yields to rebirth and revelry, throw some Stravinsky on your turntable, crack open a bottle with your friends, and join us in celebrating The Rite of Spring! Oh, and please, no rioting.”

The beer dances from the bottle in primitive glugs, filling
the glass in smooth, riotous fashion, and revealing a golden-copper coloring,
much like honey. The beer forms a fat head of smooth, rocky bubbles the color
of cream, and those slowly fade down, leaving slick strings of fluffy lacing,
which also slowly work their way back down to the mother beer. In body, the
beer is clear, bright, and translucent, with no hints of a haze. On the nose, the
beer smells of rich, wet hay, horse blanket, nettles, softly rotting pineapple,
a touch of peach, pepper flesh, and
below the other scents sits a soft glaze of honey, subtle, yet enriching. The
brett musk is nice and barnyardy, giving plenty of scratchy funk to the scent,
but the fruity side of brett is not entirely lost here, and definitely plays a
nice backup. On the tongue, the beer tastes bitter with complex herbs. Soft and
floral sweetness begins and finishes, but the beer is admittedly quite dry.
Acidity is very faint on this beer, and really only gives a gentle pop with the
finish. Earthiness rounds out the taste, drawing together the soft sweetness
and the herbal bitters in a nice dance of awakening. In flavor, the beer tastes
of nettles, musky brett, slight pineapple juice, horse blanket, and musty pale
malts. The aftertaste is scratchy with herbal bitters. In the mouth, the beer
feels medium bodied, and a little flabbier than the dryness it exudes.
Carbonation is higher than average, giving a good scrub to the tongue. When the
beer leaves, the mouth is left slightly scratchy with herbal bitter and carb,
yet refreshed. Spittle vanishes from the mouth, though you can feel the flood
gates in your glands start to tremble with anticipation, and there is a light,
sticky astringency to the tongue. Overall, I think I’m drinking this a little
too late in the season, though it is still delicious. Its heavier body, yet
crisp drinkablility and refreshing funk make it an ideal candidate to welcome spring’s
slow progression over the land, though it isn’t bad in the humid heat either.
As she warms, I get more and more musty grain character in the beer, which I
think is actually coming more from the honey than the malt. This is a complex,
yet enjoyable drinker that goes down very easily, and will do beautifully on a
dinner table. It’s got some girth, and can handle heavier foods than others in
its caliber, yet has a subtle enough character to go with lighter fare. This is
yet another rustic success from those enlightened folk with hands. Great stuff
to drink. If I had to nitpick, I’d say the herbal bitters are touch to high,
and I would have liked to see just a touch of citric acidity (maybe from
American hops) in the beer, just to help all the other delicious flavors pop a
little more. Still, it’s rustic, it’s tasty, and it’s good. Yum.

 

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