Time for another saison. I was intending to have last week be ‘saison week’ but I managed to completely miss that mark. Oh well, just means things are better spread about anyway. This is what I was expecting to be the most exciting saison of those I had on hand, 8Wired’s ‘Saison Sauvin’ – and likely also the most unconventional. As per the bottle, 8Wired’s saison uses the traditional Belgian yeasts (which provide the ‘barnyard’ Belgian quality) but double the malt (increasing the ABV) and using Nelson Sauvin hops. This is a type of hops native to New Zealand and gets its name from the white wine fruitiness it imparts. It’s also known for having big flavour.
The beer pours a rich orange as shown. The smell reminds me of a Belgian sour – there is a funky tartness, acidity, but some hops floral notes as well. Smells slightly of earth as well. The first few sips I felt like I was drinking a fairly athletic IPA – the hops took control of the palate, delivering sharp floral and fruit notes with an earthy acidity. The hops were drying and bitter and very excellent, but almost masked the saison characteristics. A lot of the tart and sharp flavour was coming across as orange peel. Once the glass warmed up some more the tart white wine notes of the saison yeasts came through stronger and the hops retracted to a more balanced level.
This was an extremely enjoyable beer as I’ve grown used to expecting from 8Wired, but not at all like other saison experiences I’ve had. If one were not a fan of IPA’s but loved saisons, I would not recommend this beer. But for the IPA fan who is less sure about saisons (which is a more common point of view for the serious beer drinker, for sure) I would highly recommend this as a saison you’re likely to love.
Like other 8Wired offerings, it’s not cheap here in BC. This was $10.55 for a 500mL bottle. It comes in at 7% ABV and without an IBU claim on the bottle but from my tastebuds I would say it would land in the 50-60 range.