From the Beer Writer: Whereas most craft fans’ favorite beer style is IPA (not that there’s anything wrong with that…they’re incredible), my favorite beers are Belgian-style farmhouse ales. But wait, like the IPA fan who can tell you they specifically like unfiltered, 7% alcohol-by-volume, tropical-flavored India pale ales dry-hopped with Citra, Motueka and Nelson Sauvin, I too can get way too specific about the types of farmhouse ales (AKA: saisons) I prefer. I like when they are spiked with Brettanomyces and aged in barrels, particularly those which have formerly housed white wine. I prefer Sauvignon Blanc barrels, but I’m not a picky man (despite what everything leading up to this has led you to believe). So, when speaking with local brewer Robert Masterson about future plans he had for his then yet-to-open Resident Brewing, and he told me the first thing he was going to do was get his saison into white-wine barrels so he could start aging it, I tucked that nugget away and started biding my time. It was as if he had intercepted some letter to Santa and, despite my naughty status, decided to bring my beer wish to life. A few weeks ago, that beer, Resident Saison Prestige, made its debut in 750-milliliter bottles, and I went straight to work getting my hands on some. And I’m glad I did, because it is exceptional. Oenophiles will be drawn in by a lustrous bouquet rife with aromas of lemon peel, honeysuckle, pears and grape must, while lovers of farmhouse and sour ales will go gaga for a multifarious yet balanced taste sensation offering up passion fruit, lemongrass, white pepper and oak-borne vanillins with a touch of funk delivered against a textural backdrop that’s medium and slightly creamy, leaving lingering traces of vanilla and kiwi. It’s prestigious enough to live up to its name and available exclusively at Resident’s base of operations, downtown’s The Local Eatery and Watering Hole.
From the Brewery: “Saison Prestige is a barrel-fermented, mixed-fermentation saison aged in French oak Chardonnay barrels. This farmhouse-style ale gets its character from two types of saison yeast, multiple Brettanomyces strains and Lactobacillus. The beer rested in wine barrels for over a year, before being bottled in June 2017. The beer was inspired by a few amazing American farmhouse breweries that have been putting out amazing beers for the past half-decade. We secured some amazing Chardonnay barrels from Chateau Montelena. After the saison picked up their character, we selected the three barrels that had the best-tasting beer inside. We didn’t want to utilize fruit with these killer barrels. Instead, we wanted them to stand out on their own and show San Diego what a wine-barrel and funky, tart saison can taste like without fruit additions.”—Robert Masterson, Head Brewer, Resident Brewing Company
In April, we provided a look-see at Belching Beaver Brewery’s Oceanside production-brewery. In addition to housing a 30-barrel brewhouse, bottling line, plenty of cans and cold-storage, the facility is also home to a variety of barrels. Those oaken receptacles are the domain of Peter Perrecone, who came to Belching Beaver from 100%-wild operation Toolbox Brewing Company last August, and is now in charge of his current employer’s sour-beer program. He produced quality tart ales at his previous gig, so there has been ample anticipation of his next-generation sours, the first of which go on sale Saturday, August 13 at Belching Beaver’s Oceanside tasting-room (1334 Rocky Point Drive, Oceanside).
A sampling of Belching Beaver Batch 1 took me back to Perrecone’s previous work. An American blonde wild ale aged nine months in French oak red wine barrels, then aged an additional two months on 525 pounds of fresh raspberries, it was profoundly sour (read, saliva-inducing tart) with an abundance of fruit flavor. It paired nicely with a summer day and, at 6.71% alcohol-by-volume, it was substantial enough to take the place of an IPA, especially in a 500-milliliter bottle (most sours come in small 375ml bottles or far-too-ambitious 750ml glass). It’s a promising start, and the beer is currently available at Belching Beaver’s Oceanside tasting-room.
Future offerings from the brewery’s barrel-aged sour-beer program include…