This is a new type of article for Hoppy Boston, where I’ll pose a question and provide my answer as well as the answer of another beer writer. For the first question I’ve enlisted the help of beer blogger Thomas Short from ShortBrews.com. We are planning to make this a series, so feel free to pass along potential questions of give your own take in the comments or on social media. While you are at it, give Short Brews a like on facebook or a follow on twitter @short_brews. Hope you enjoy and let me know what you think of the new article style
What is an under-rated/underappreciated beer style that you really enjoy?
Ryan (HoppyBoston.com): I proposed this question and had an answer in mind before I asked it. My favorite under appreciated style is definitely the saison. I understand why some people shy away from the style, I wasn’t a fan of the flavors imparted by Belgian yeasts when I first started drinking craft beer and it took a while for me to come around, but now saisons are one of my favorite beer styles. The yeast is the key to a great saison, the expressive Belgian and French saison strains can add a whole host of flavors, fruity, spicy, funky even a little sour, or some combination. After that the style is pretty wide open. The saison style started in farmhouses across Belgium and France, the beers were brewed for the farm workers, so the malt and hop bills can cover a wide range. This gives a brewer a lot of latitude as they design their beer, and American breweries have taken advantage. I’ve tasted saisons as dark as a stout or as hoppy as an IPA. My personal favorite twist on the style mixes late doses of fruity new world hops with the expressive yeast. For a while I thought hoppy saisons would be the “next IPA”, but it didn’t really happen (FWIW, there is no “next IPA”, I don’t think any beer style will hit that height of popularity). So if you haven’t given saisons a try in a while I highly recommend putting down the hop bomb IPA and boozy imperial stout and trying some Belgian ales. If you need some recommendations I am happy to help!
Thomas (ShortBrews.com) The only answer I can give is the classic pilsner. Anyone who has been reading ShortBrews lately knows that I’ve been on a big lager kick, and I feel like some people might have gotten the impression that I don’t like lagers which is not the case. I don’t like many lagers, but I love a good pilsner – specifically Czech-style since pilsners hail from Plzen, modern-day Czech Republic. It’s a perfect lighter beer (not to be confused with “light” or “lite”), but it doesn’t lack in flavor. The crispness is perfect for the fall, the same season when I fell in love with pilsners when I (here come the name drops) went to Prague after enjoying pilsners at Oktoberfest. They should have a nice, golden color, a crisp feel, and just enough malt to complement the hop flavor. As the leaves change and the air cools, I highly recommend drinking a nice pilsner with your football. For a ready-to-go pilsner, check out Pilsner Urquell or your local German-style beer hall. Europe does these right!