Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Great Lakes Brewery 25th Anniversary Belgian Saison (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 6.5%

Great Lakes Brewery 25th Anniversary Belgian Saison (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 6.5%

The beer is gold and slightly cloudy in a glass with a light, white frothy head. The aroma is of nectar and spice (and everything nice); as I'd expect from a Belgian White or a Belgian Blonde Ale or really any ale made in North America with "Belgian" in the name. There is also wheat tones and just a a bit of hops to the aroma. It has a sweet taste with nectar, a bit of citrus (orange) and clearly coriander, some pretty substantial spiciness that's almost immediately mellowed by the wheat character, and quite a bitter aftertaste. The hops character is present but mellow, a bit of citrus a bit green, and entirely intermixed with the other lovely flavours.

A glance at the ingredient list confirms the coriander and also the taste of seeds of paradise which is actually forehead-smackingly obvious in hindsight (hindtaste?). I discovered from the ingredients list that the spiciness is due to the use of pepper. The pepper is a nice touch that manages to avoid dominating the flavour even though I can feel the spice is strong enough that it is faintly tickling my insides with heartburn since I'm drinking this on an empty stomach (part of review strategy). Great Lakes Brewery 25th Anniversary Belgian Saison could make an interesting or a dangerous pairing with spicy foods, it comes in a big enough bottle that I think I'll try it out at the end of this review. The alcohol isn't very noticeable but there is some chest warming from more than the moderate peppery spice.

Now to the food pairing, I tried it with a bit of salsa and chips and the pepper in the Belgian Saison definitely kicked the spice up a notch. As long as the spicy food you are eating isn't at the high end of your spice tolerance Great Lakes Brewery 25th Anniversary Belgian Saison is a tasty and perhaps unexpected pairing option. This Saison would also be a nice pairing with light dishes like a salad or fish (think white wine) but it is also delicious on its own. If you can still find one of these in stores I'd suggest picking it up and giving it a try.

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