Recently we asked you about your favorite Summer beers, and one beer style that was mentioned a few times was the Saison or ‘Farmhouse Ale’.
I’m still getting used to this style, and as of this writing I’ve only had the one from Victory Brewing which was really good. I’ve got a few more lined up, but today we’re going to check out Colette, the Farmhouse Ale from Great Divide Brewing out of Colorado.
What makes a Saison, or Farmhouse Ale a great beer for Summer? Well I suppose its got something to do with the style’s origins. Apparently, if you were a worker on a Belgian farm, this was often brewed to keep the farmhands motivated and happy. Maybe as part of their compensation? I don’t know. The beer was brewed to a lower percentage of alcohol, which makes a lot of sense because the last thing you want is a bunch of drunken farmers wielding reapers and such!
Colette is a little stronger than what our farmhand friends might have drank – at 7.3% ABV you want to be careful with your tomatoes! The beer looks like it could be from the amber waves of grain we hear about – its a nice straw color topped by a short-lived, but pure white head.
The label informs me that Colette is “brewed with barley, wheat, and rice…with a special blend of four different yeast strains…” sounds complex enough, right?
While I don’t necessarily pick up on any of that in the aroma, I do pick up on some spices and fruity notes that I suspect are from those four yeast strains. It reminds me of a Hefeweizen’s slightly crazy brother if you know what I mean.
I get that in the taste too. A bit of a prickle on the tongue, and while its a bit fruity tasting (banana-ish) is definitely got a bit of a sour thing going on. Its fruity, spicy and tart – how’s that?
The finish is a little odd – for me anyway. Its crisp and dry which is actually appreciated on a hot day like today (it was almost 100!). None of the heavy sticky mouthfeel here.
Being a Saison noob here, its going to be hard to rate Colette except on how its making me feel at this moment, which is pretty good. The beer is light enough tasting to be good for a hot day, yet its complex enough to stop and make you think a little bit about every sip, and be thankful that you aren’t out hand-picking potatoes someplace on a day like this.
If you are though, Great Divide Colette is where its at!