Howdy Sour Beer Fans!
Lately I’ve been slacking a little bit on content, but with good reason! I completed my BJCP online exam, signed up for my tasting exam, plus I’m working toward my Cicerone certification. Even with all of that, I decided that I needed to review a fantastic saison by Crooked Stave, Surette Provision Saison. We cracked this bad boy during the Armand 4 Zomer tasting, on June 21st, and it was a great warm up to night. I’m looking forward to sampling more from Crooked Stave in the future.
When opened and poured, Surette has a lovely golden straw color, and is a clear to slightly hazy beer with a soft pillowy white head that stood strong throughout the tasting. The aroma was out of this world! With hints of lactic acidity and wheat malt, followed by a juicy dose of mango, pineapple, and soft peach notes, this saison moves away from the traditional peppery and phenolic smells that are typically associated with saisons. Going further, the nose had wonderful accents of white wine, light grassy hay, and finally a hoppy perfume quality that kept my nose firmly planted in the glass.
Letting it warm up for a few minutes, the flavor profile was balanced between light lactic & citric acid and mineral notes similar to those found in a Perrier or a San Pellegrino, but not over minerally to a point of unpleasantness. As you would expect, this beer finishes dry and crisp, with a minimal lactic sourness that was slightly tart, but dissipated fast from the jowls. The Surette balances to the malt side with a wheat backbone and some husky/graininess that lends itself to baseline bitterness with no hop presence in the flavor. The Brettanomyces fermentation was cleaner in the flavor than I had expected from the bombardment of tropical fruit that the aroma was giving off, but I will say the fruity esters produced by the Brettanomyces did add to the overall perception of sweetness in the beer. This perception of sweetness helped to balance this thin bodied beer with medium carbonation.
Surette sets itself apart from most saisons with its lack of some classic characteristics (peppery & phenolic) that are most associated with the style. But Crooked Stave’s take on this French / Belgian ale is surely one not to miss, the Brettanomyces fermentation gives it a depth that its counterparts lack and also the use of Lactobacillus gives Surette a pleasant acidic quality that most saisons don’t have. If you’re a lover of saison and/or sour beers, this is one beer not to pass up!
Cale “Sour Brew” Baker