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Judges Rating: 
23 / 24
5 / 6
36 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Producing a small range of beguilingly complex beers, Urthel’s brew master Hildegard van Ostaden recently introduced Saisonnière, which falls somewhere between saison and golden ale. Showcasing the brewer’s finesse, the aroma is a nuanced blend of faintly crackery Pils malt, fruity esters, subtle spiciness, and a whiff of comb honey. Pete appreciated the distinctive weave of sweet, honeyed malt, hop notes of chamomile and thyme with traces of pear and white grape. In addition to the herbal notes, Tim picked up on a snappy white pepper tone to the aroma, yet felt it worked well with the hints of cherry and honey lingering below. True to its labeling, Saisonnière is a pale golden color, throws only the slightest haze, and is cloaked in a creamy, dense white head that refuses to subside. Soft, bready malt flavors predominate, though there is enough bitterness to keep the sweetness in check, and the spicy notes place a very distant second to the malt. Beneath the soft, sweet malt, Tom teased out hints of green bananas and French vanilla and a piercing bitterness which left the finish a bit edgy. Lee enjoyed the shadings of malt, hop, and spice the brewer imparted, but felt that everything was just a “bit shy of being characterful.” He praised the beer for its pristine flavors and flawless balance, but just wanted a bit more of everything before he could deem this one a “classic.” A quirky, though exactingly crafted brew that straddles a number of styles, Urthel’s Saisonnière is the perfect “go to” beer when you’re in the mood for a beer but can’t settle on one specific style.