Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace
This little 750 ml beauty comes from Brooklyn Brewery. One of the brewery’s regional sales reps and I were discussing local distribution on the East End of Long Island at an event back in the spring. He mentioned that some accounts were dropping their Brooklyn tap lines because they “weren’t craft enough.”
This struck me as odd at first, but then I understood. Once a small upstart brewery, opened in 1996, Brooklyn Brewery can now be found in 25 states and 20 countries. This means your favorite sports arena, restaurant and even gas station probably has at least one of their beers. Some of their beer is contract brewed outside of Brooklyn, but this doesn’t turn me off one bit. Their Brooklyn Lager is one of the best, widely-available beers out there, and their small-batch brews almost always impress.
This saison is named after the rare Japanese hop variety “Sorachi Ace.” This hop was originally developed for Japanese beers such as Sapporo as a bittering hop, but has garnished attention as a citrus driven aroma-hop in several domestic craft beers.
If the cork and cage didn’t give away the fact that this beer was bottle conditioned, the pour did. It leaves an immense white froth that clings to the glass for dear life. The champagne yeast strain used provides bubbles that are, well…..like champagne. Classic coriander and orange peel aromas are underpinned by a fresh cut wheat grass note. Similar flavors lead off on the palate with a bit of sweet lemon and wheat on the finish. There is a hint of white pepper left on the tongue and the bitterness I expected to sense was washed out by the ample carbonation.
This is an intensely clean saison relative to other styles I’ve tried from around the world. Having tasted this beer on tap, I can say that the bottle conditioning has added layers of flavor not achieved in keg. This beer begs for a bowl of spicy ramen and some crispy spring rolls but drinks just fine on its own. The best part of this great saison is you can actually find it! Enjoy.