Welcome to my first Beer of the Week.
I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to do this since I came up with the idea. I’ve decided each week I will review a beer I’ve never tried before. I’ll include information about the Style, Bio about the Brewery, Food Pairing, and What I Think. Huck also wants in on the fun, so he will have a What Huck Thinks section, too.
My plan is to go through a bunch of different styles, starting with the lighter beers, so you will have a better understanding of styles and someone new to the craft beer game will have a better idea where to start. The Beer of the Week post is to help me and you learn more about beer.
This information is coming from BJCP, my how to brew book, and various brewing website. If you are interested in learning more about beer, the BJCP app is great. You can download it right to your phone. It is broken down into styles and each style is broken down into categories: Aroma, Appearance, Flavor, Mouth-feel, Overall Impression, History, Ingredients, and a list of common beers for that style.
This weeks beer is Seventeen from Weyerbacher. Seventeen is a Saison Ale brewed with Pink peppercorns, Orange Zest, Lemon Zest, and Grapefruit Zest. This beer is a whopping 10.5% abv (abv = Alcohol by Volume. FYI Bud Light is 4.2%)
Every year they release a beer for their anniversary. Seventeen is to celebrate 17 years in business. It is only brewed once, so you’ll never see this one again.
For someone new to the craft beer world, style is important. When I met Huck, I was a watered down beer drinker. I hated the taste of beer. At the time, Huck would give me his IPA and tell me to try it. Not a good idea.
Huck realized I was never going to like beer if he kept giving me the strong stuff, so he started introducing me to lighter beers. The first craft beer I liked and would drink regularly was Sweetwater Blue. It is a Blueberry flavored Ale with a light a taste and is low in hoppy flavor (the bitter stuff).
If you are just starting to experiment with craft beer, I recommend lighter flavored beers. Lagers, Ales, Kolsch, Blondes, and Wheat are great starting points. These beers usually have lower hop bitterness. The bitter flavor was what I didn’t enjoy.
This week, I picked a Saison. It is in the Belgian and French Ale category of the BJCP. I’m not staying this is the best starter beer. Saisons are very complex.
Characteristics of a Saison
- Fruity flavor and aroma
- Semi-Dry (Not much sweetness)
- Low to medium bitterness
- Low to medium tartness
- Color is typically pale orange.
- Very high carbonation
About the Brewery- Weyerbacher (“Why-er-bock-er)
Weyerbacher Brewing Company was founded in 1995 by Dan and Sue Weirback in downtown Easton, PA. Dan was a small business owner and homebrewer. While visiting Long Trail Brewery in Vermont in 1993, Sue suggested they start their own brewery.
Originally sticking to the basics, in 1997 they started serving Raspberry Imperial Stout. People started to take notice of the new and interesting beers coming form Weyerbacher. Their new plan “Making Full-Flavored high-quality brews for a discerning customer”
From 1998-2001 they operated a brewpub. After years of brewing and operating a kitchen, they decided to close the brewpub and focus solely on beer.
They currently operate a 25bbl brewhouse and distribute to 18 different states.
I find it interesting that the first Beer of the Week was from a brewery started by a husband and wife!
Saisons are “The beer of Summer”. And since it is 80+ degrees in South Florida, it’s always a great time for a Summer beer. Their robust flavor makes them a great accompaniment to full flavor dishes from spicy to rustic. Meats like poultry, fish, and shellfish are recommended as well as cuisines like Thai and Middle-Eastern.
I also read that because Saions are highly carbonated, they make great palate cleansers in between courses.
What I Think
The citrus flavors in this beer really shine in the beginning followed by a strong tart flavor. The peppercorns added a slight spice to the flavor. Really, that is all I remember. We had a few strong beers at the class and they started running together. I think it has some banana flavors (caused by the yeast the brew used)
This beer will knock you on your butt if you’re not careful. Remember 10.5%!
What Huck Thinks
This beer is what I would call an imperial or super Saison. The normal ABV for this style in BJCP is 5-7%. This is where brewers push the norm by bumping up the grain bill to allow for more sugars to be present. Thus, making more alcohol. This beer has a big citrus aroma. The yeast give off a banana aroma too. You can tell this is a big beer. Personally, I prefer these to be lower in ABV. Definitely worth a try though.