To start the Hoppy Boston Spring of saisons I decided to review one of my favorites, Mystic Mary of the Gael. It is fitting to begin a run of saison reviews with Mystic, since their brewery specializes in the style. Mystic’s beers showcase the versatility of the saison style. Each of their flagship and seasonal beers is a saison, but they have drastically different flavor profiles. Mary of the Gael is Mystic’s Spring saison, brewed in honor of St. Brigid’s Day in Ireland. It is brewed with pilsner and a little honey malt along with Belgian-style saison yeast. The ale is then dry hopped with a copious amount of aromatic hops, adding a significant hoppy character to the final product. While traditional Belgian saisons aren’t aggressively hopped, the fruity ester tastes imparted by the Belgian yeast can be a nice fit with the floral, citrus and tropical fruit impressions from many hop varieties. Mary of the Gael is available on draft and in 750 mL bottles during the Spring season.
Mystic Mary of the Gael pours a deep copper, slightly cloudy with a massive off-white head. The smell starts with Belgian yeast, scents of spice and fruity esters with a little funk. This is nicely balanced by hoppy aromas that contribute earth, pine and floral fragrances. The yeast is also the first flavor to come through when you taste the beer, along with notes of pepper, pear, green apple and spice. These fruity and spicy esters form a nice synergy with the touches of lemon, resin and cut grass from the hops. The malts are evident but not strong. They form a nice base to the beer and provide balance. While the beer has strong hop aroma and some distinct hoppy flavor, the bitterness is mild at 21 IBUs. Mystic Mary of the Gael is medium to light bodied, easy to drink but solid at 6.5% ABV. The finish is a little dry with a dash of lingering spiciness and bitterness. This beer is delicious, a perfectly composed combination of flavors from the yeast, hops and malt. I have tasted and enjoyed a number of beers from Mystic and this is my favorite (so far)! Hoppy Boston score: 5.0/5.
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