illidurit (2340) - San Francisco, California, USA - AUG 22, 2009 gail (4) - San Francisco, California, USA - APR 6, 2009
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
The brewer, Brian Hunt, has a wicked sense of humor. He was calling this a "Norwegian Farmhouse Ale" as a joke so far as I can tell. It’s not brewed to any historic style. The name is humorous too. Now we are all trying to rate it as a Saison. (Joke boomerangs, as this can’t rate very well as any style since it is breaking new ground!)
Uncle Fudd’s got some bready character, nice full body, a pleasant slight sour creaminess, and the payoff, am unusual warm tickle in the back of the throat after about half a pint. Like some fine Japanese sakes brewed in Cedar barrels, this takes on a prickly warm woody flavor from Cedar -- but from a specific new world cedar called "Thuja" -- a species Elmer Fudd might have named. The brewer put Thuja branches into the tank instead of oak chips or dry hops.
It’s interesting, and worth experiencing. Works well with food.
I think if this is the defining commercial example for a west coast Norwegian Farmhouse style, it can’t rate real low, can it? I like his redwood experiements better, but the creativity of this fellow always makes me smile.
On tap at 515 in Santa Cruz. Pours a light amber color with a thin off-white head. Aroma is buttery with some caramel, bread, and a light fruitiness. Flavor is similar, with a light diacetyl butterscotch note that washes into a musty, spicy, fruity finish. Some mild citrus and earthiness but this is an overall sweet beer. No idea why this would be called a saison. Palate is medium and a little sticky. Drinkable through the first pint, not sure if I’d want another. Can’t really justify giving this a higher rating even though I want to like it. Just doesn’t measure up to Moonlight’s standard. SamGamgee (2452) - down the whirlpool, California, USA - AUG 16, 2009
Draught at the 515. Gold-amber with a small white head. Butterscotch, caramel, and some wood in the aroma. The flavor is sweet with some toasty and spicy malt flavors, with the rye being evident, balanced by a woody, lighter bitterness and a hint of butterscotch. Medium bodied and smooth going down. An odd beer that I thought was more of a rye lager with a hint of diacetyl that was actually not too bad. The verdict is out on this one to be honest. mpersinger (365) - , California, USA - MAY 28, 2009
On draft. First of all, the clarity of many of Brian Hunt’s beers should not be overlooked (especially since I don’t think he filters) and this one is no exception. Barely amber in color with a finger’s height plush white head. Aroma is mildly smokey, crisp, slightly spicy, with a butterscotch note.
As to whether this is a saison, de Baets says that defining saisons "...is one of the most difficult subjects for a beer historian" but that "they were beers destined for keeping...".
Since Brian would store a beer as long as needed to get what he wants, perhaps he aged this one?
I bet the clean taste is from a lager yeast, the spicy note from the rye, and the smokey (plus bitter balance) from the cedar used instead of hops.
The butterscotch note tastes like some diacytal, not a no-no for some styles or ’no-style’ like the iconoclastic saison designation.
I’ve had a half dozen pints over as many days and this one shifts: but stays restrained and balanced. iowaherkeye (2703) - Ocean Beach, San Diego, California, USA - APR 13, 2009
.On tap @ Flavor in Santa Rosa. Clear brownish orange with a one finger light beige head, good retention. Aroma ofsweet caramel, toast, and some spicy rye. Flavor has earthy caramel and biscuit notes with some spicy alcohol notes. Some sweet spicy rye is also noted. Semi-dry finish with bitterness around a 2-3. Soft, yet prickly carbonation with a medium body. Pretty good, tthough definitely not a saison. Ethereal (2421) - Los Angeles, California, USA - APR 13, 2009
On tap at City Beer, San Francisco, 28th March 09. Slightly hazy amber appearance. An interesting beer made with cedar and rye, but no hops. It has a very distinctive aroma and flavour. There’s definitely a bit of cream cheese there for starters! It’s so hard to describe - very different from a hoppy beer. A wonderful experimental beer that’s worth sampling if you see it.
bb (9268) - Alamo, California, USA - APR 9, 2009
Draft. Amber beer with an off-white head. Caramel and spice aroma with a light fruitiness. Malt and cereal flavor with light fruitiness and some rye spice. Medium bodied. Caramel, malt, ceral lingers with some light earthy spice. nickd717 (4691) - San Francisco, California, USA - APR 6, 2009
On tap at City Beer Store in SF. Not a particularly impressive offering from Moonlight. Golden-amber color with a white head. Aroma is malt and a tiny bit of funk. Flavor is mostly bready rye malt, some funk, some yeast. Not bad but nothing spectacular. Pretty average palate. badlizard (5533) - Berkeley, California, USA - APR 3, 2009
On tap at a Flavor. Golden with a fluffy white head. Grain and malt aroma and taste with nectar and wheat bread notes. marcus (10227) - Sacramento, California, USA - MAR 14, 2009
On tap at Toronado. This amber ale poured with a modest off-white head and a sour fruity aroma. This is an odd recipe for a saison, with the rye content providing the dominant flavor. The flavor is also rather flat and not spiced like most other saisons.