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Stateside Saison

Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
5 / 6
34 / 40
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

One of a growing number of “gypsy” brewers, little is known about Brian Strumke and his Baltimore-based brewing. We do, however, know that he produces quirky, occasionally off-kilter brews in styles less daring brewers tend to shun. Stillwater’s Stateside Saison is just such a beer, redolent of sweet, new mown hay and peppery phenols. Riding under the grassy, spicy baseline Tom teased out “sweet, savory lemon meringue pie,” shot through with hints of kiwifruit and green bananas. Not unexpectedly, this beer pours a cloudy yet deeply saturated gold crowned by a thick, creamy white head that refuses to surrender until the very end. Flavors are a bit funkier than found in traditional saisons, yet the classic notes of leather and horse blanket are there, all supported by a tart, acidic twang. Tim delved deeper, getting under the overriding barnyard and citrus, to find a “lush Osage honey sweetness, laced with just a hint of honeysuckle” all deftly balanced with a quenching acidity. Pete commended the brewer’s deft hand in using the underlying acidity and “zingy white pepper” to “sharpen rather than blow away notes of guava and ripe kumquats.” This is a credible American take on the highly revered Belgian farmhouse ales, the perfect accompaniment for any meal – from backyard barbecue to haute cuisine. Still in limited production, if you can see Stateside Saison on your purveyor’s shelves, grab it while you can.