While saisons tend to be light bodied and easy to drink, many can be deceptively high in alcohol. Many times a saison will go down easily (and a little too quickly), and I will look up the ABV and be shocked to find it’s 7-9%. I’m not one to complain about alcohol, it’s fine as long as it isn’t overdone, but some occasions call for lower alcohol beers. Many craft breweries are now complementing their lineups with session beers that are lower in alcohol but still full in flavor. One example is Swing, the session saison from Victory Brewing Company. Swing is brewed with German barley malt along with rye, oats and wheat, balanced by German and American hops. They also add peppercorns, orange peel and lemon zest to the brew, adjuncts that are usually found in Belgian witbiers. Swing is a Spring seasonal sold in 12 oz bottles.
Victory Swing Saison pours a pale golden yellow, crystal clear with a very mild white head. The fruit and spice from the Belgian yeast and adjunct ingredients dominate the smell. These ingredients are strong in the flavor too. The yeast adds pear and coriander, while the adjuncts contribute notes of pepper and orange. The hops are pretty mild, contributing some earthy and woodsy taste. The malt provides a nice backbone for the beer, and the addition of wheat and rye adds a mild flavor that nicely complements the yeast and spices. Victory Swing is light bodied and easy to drink, very sessionable at 4.5% ABV. The finish is very dry with a mild tang on the tongue. This is a solid beer for a warm spring BBQ, easy to drink and it also pairs well with food. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.
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