More breweries are dabbling in barrel aging, buying up used wine or spirit barrels and filling them with all types of beer. While the most common barrel aged beer is still the bourbon barrel aged imperial stout, you are starting to see a whole variety of beer and barrel combinations hit the shelves and taps. I am not a huge liquor drinker, at this point in my life I try to stick to beer, but I have a few types of booze that I still enjoy on occasion. First and foremost is whiskey, bourbon and scotch in particular. Second, and probably the only other spirit I have on even a semi-regular basis, in gin. Gin and tonic is a go-to summer drink for me, especially when quality gin is involved. I haven’t seen many beers incorporate gin barrel aging, so I was excited when I learned about Le Saisonniere, the gin-barrel aged saison from Cambridge Brewing Company. Le Saisonniere is named in honor of the seasonal farm workers in southern Belgium, this type of refreshing and lower alcohol beer was the perfect end to a long day of hard work. Cambridge Brewing Company Le Saisonniere is available on draft and in 750 mL bottles.
Brewing Company Le Saisonniere pours a hazy golden yellow with a moderate white head. The scent is a mixture of spicy saison yeast and some botanicals from the gin. The taste is pretty complex, you get multiple layers of flavor here. The Belgian style yeast is well represented, notes of apple, clove and pepper. The gin is pretty mild, just a touch of juniper and herbs, but the oak is pretty strong. There are some earthy and floral noble hops along with white bread and biscuits from the malts. That is quite a few different flavors, but they work well together overall. The beer is medium bodied but drinks very easy and is sessionable at only 4.0% ABV. The finish is dry with a complex mixture of fruity yeast, hops, gin and oak in the aftertaste. This is a really interesting beer, I like seeing more diversity of beer and spirit styles in barrel aging programs and I think the combination of a saison with gin is a great idea. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Cambridge Brewing Co. Reviews:
Cambridge Brewing Co. Hay is for Horses, Cambridge Brewing Co. Sgt. Pepper, Cambridge Brewing Company You Enjoy My Stout, Cambridge Brewing Company Remain in Light, Cambridge Brewing Company The Audacity of Hops