I spent an hour or so chatting with Crawford Moran (the genius brewer at 5 Seasons Westside in Atlanta) yesterday, and really enjoyed drinking his Provence Saison that is brewed with Lavender. Coincidentally I had picked this up at Hop City next door, just a few minutes previously. Both of these floral saisons seem to dovetail beautifully with the very hot weather that has hit Atlanta in the last 36 hours or so.
The pour is an interesting one for a couple of reasons. Firstly the beer appears to impart a really light, lemon color which is almost washed out. HOWEVER, oddly, as the beer fills the Brasserie de l’Abbaye des Rocs chalice the beer seems to change color and give a much more orange-honey hue. The second strange element of the pour is that the beer initially gives a very airy, large bubbled head. This would appear to NOT be a recipe for a great head or lace, but although what does transpire atop the beer and on the inside of the glass is not stunning, it certainly qualifies as decent head and is much better than I expected from the first impression of the bubbles.
The nose could be described as quite perfume like – NOT really floral, but more like a shampoo or perhaps more accurately bath salts. It also seems organic and hay-like in the way it wafts up the nostrils. Quite pungent.
Initial tastes reflect the nose quite obviously, but there is a stronger hint of bitterness in the back end than I was expecting. A fair dose of grapefruit rounds the beer out on the palate, but the aftertaste is most definitely perfume based again. The elderflower element is quite strong, and there is no denying that the beer relies upon it heavily, so if you DON’T enjoy a floral, grassy profile, then you’d better stay away from this one.
I really like this beer with its sensible ABV and clean, refreshing edge. It has VERY good depth of flavor too which can be a problem with beers infused with flowers.
Tasty, good value and a beer that really hits some high spots for me.
$9.99 750 mL bottle