Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace Saison – New York, NY, United States
It seems natural to start my beer review series with such an exceptional saison. Not only is it the perfect crisp, light beer to drink on hot summer days, but it also pairs well with just about everything. Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace knocks it out of the park with this one.
Background and history
Saison, meaning season, hearkens back to the growing seasons in the farmlands of southern Belgium where it was first brewed. It refers mainly to the coming of spring, when the last batches would be brewed and rationed out to keep the farmers hydrated until the next brew season’s beers were ready for drinking.
A wide range of spices and flavors from white pepper to orange peel were traditionally used in the kettle, making it well-known for having an earthy flavor.
Modern saisons are characterized by the yeast used in the brewing process, which is related to red wine yeast. After brewing, each batch is usually laid down, or put into storage, for a couple months or more before being released for sale.
Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace is a welcome addition to the saison lineup. Their rendition is named after the Japanese-created Sorachi Ace hops they used, which have a lemony aroma. Its head was full and bubbly as I poured it, lingering on even as I drank and leaving a lovely layer of lace down the length of the glass.
Sorachi Ace has a smooth mouthfeel that goes down easily and has a light flavor hinting of straw, grassy notes, and champagne, as well as a strong lemony taste. My girlfriend, Jess, commented that it tasted like “sunshine in a glass,” and only later did we read the bottle label to find that was exactly how the brewery described it.
Jess: 1; Me: 0. Sometimes the best description is the simplest one.
I dare you to find a meal (within reason) that does not pair well with this saison. Much like that goody-goody classmate in everyone’s school who was nice to everyone, saison gets along well with most flavors and food groups.
My pairing suggestions are:
Grilled salmon with a dress of fresh cracked pepper and sea salt
Salad with grilled shrimp and a light habanero dressing
Just about anything with sausage, especially pork sausage
Spicy cuisines such as Thai food. My favorites are chicken massaman curry, beef satay, pad thai, and crispy duck in red coconut curry sauce
Game meats with fruity sauces
Hops: 3 ; Malts: 3.5 ; Flavor: 4 ; Overall: 4 ; Label: 2.5
Have you tried this beer? If so, leave a comment and tell us what you thought!