Michael McGuire's picture

Desert Dawn – Southbound Brewing Co.

April, 2017
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
5 / 6
35 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Judge’s Review: Desert Dawn by Southbound Brewing Co. is a Belgian Style Saison Ale brewed with elderberries and was judged as a Specialty Fruit Beer  (BJCP sub-style 29C). It poured reddish-purple into the glass where it set up somewhat hazy with a modest white head consisting of small bubbles that dissipated quickly. The aroma featured both intense fruitiness and strong non-Brett sour notes but neither hops nor Belgian yeast. The initial flavor profile mirrored the aroma with strong berry flavors and sourness presumably from fermented elderberries, which were then followed pleasantly by smooth notes. There was no hop flavor or bitterness except to balance the sweet fruitiness; indeed, the finish and closing impression was of non-cloying fruit sugars. Palate sensations included low carbonation and alcohol warmth with mild puckery astringency.

Overall, this sour fruit beer was refreshing in its simple drinkability. There are no hidden agendas or multiple layers of complexity in this brew, but it has plenty to satisfy those who want to dabble in American sour beer without taking a full plunge into an intense horse-blanket adventure.