Embracing history is one thing that the Craft Beer Movement™ has done properly. Exploring styles beyond the IPA and lager is another. But, for every silly India Pale Lager or donut-flavored out there, there have been wildly delicious goses and saisons. The good and bad of craft beers could be debated for hours and this really isn’t the space to do it. No, I would prefer to be sitting at a bar — maybe the World of Beer in Syracuse, or the tasting room at Mispillion River over their sweet potato brown ale — doing that.
One of the great joys of craft beer, though, is going to a new city or region of the country and trying something different. I discovered, on my last trip to our nation’s capital, that I really need more D.C. Brau in my life. My visit to New Orleans threw the doors open to Lazy Magnolia, Parish Brewing, Bayou Teche, and Tin Roof. Heck, a drive to Albany with a stop at Oliver’s or Westmere is like a portal to what’s new and different. We’ve reached a point in our house where a trip to visit The Sister, our friends in Rochester or the Lehigh Valley, or a work trip to my state capital will result in a trip to a bottle shop.
Moody Tongue‘s entry into the Northeast is centered primarily in the Tri-State area, as I found this bottle of its Steeped Emporer’s Lemon Saison on a shelf in Syosset, N.Y. It’s a Chicago-based brewer that utilizes a lot of culinary influences in its brewing. Aromatics, herbs, and spices are blended to create balanced beers as if they were chef-developed dishes. The owner is a classically-trained chef that worked in fine dining before going to work for Goose Island. He has since struck out on his own to stake a claim in the Craft Beer Movement™. Moody Tongue doesn’t list its beers on its website, but they make/have made a saison, a Carmelized Chocolate Churro Baltic Porter, Crushed Green Coriander Wit, Shaved Black Truffle Pilsner and Sliced Nectarine IPA, to name a few.
Ordinarily, saisons have a flavor that is very yeasty and tangy with a lot of spice and grain flavors underneath. These are the original craft beers, brewed on farms in the south of Belgium when winter set in, using the harvest to give farmers something to do during the slow times. They would age through the cold-weather months and be served during the summer as a refreshment. After all, summertime farm irrigation and runoff would often leave the wells and rivers full of undrinkable water. Beer would be served to keep the farmhands hydrated. Makes total sense.
Moody Tongue’s saison is none of those things. It could very easily be mistaken for a lemon wheat beer, as it goes down very smoothly. There’s a lot of lemon in the aroma and in the first sips of this cloudy beer. Yeast and malt sits at the base of the beer’s bridge on the palette, supporting the lemon, lemon sugars and lemongrass. It finishes fresh and a little watery, leaving you thirsting for another. Sadly, I bought one for tasting purposes.
This is more suited to quench the thirst of those Belgium farmers. It’s not much of a saison, in that traditional sense, but it is a very good beer nonetheless.
Brewer: Moody Tongue Brewing Company
Beer: Steeped Emperor’s Lemon Saison
Style: Saison/farmhouse ale
ABV: 6.3% IBU: n/a
Container: 12 oz. bottle
Price: $3.99 (purchased as a single) Point of Purchase: Syosset Beverage, Syosset, N.Y.
To The Eye: Golden and a little cloudy. I poured hard and got a thick head that remained pillowy all the way through.
To The Nose: So full of lemon that it would be silly to say lemon peel, Meyer lemon or anything else. It was an authentic lemon smell, not syrupy or like Mr. Clean.
To The Palate: A little bitter. A little tangy. A little malty. But the flavor is dominated by lemon and lemongrass from front to back.
Aftertaste: Clean and fresh with a watery end. Leaves you wanting the next sip.
Boozy Factor: Deceptive. You want to drink three or four but that would knock you backwards.
On a Scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as highest: 7.5