Well here she is ladies and gentlemen – Saison 27 in all her glory. With final ABV coming in at 7.6% and it’s beautiful cloudy amber color it’s easy to see why this beer was well received. It had a lovely honey sweetness from the excessive amount of orange blossom honey I used and had little hop flavor despite the pile of hops that was added in. I, along with the crowd at Mac’s Mixed Nuts Home Brew Contest, found it to be incredibly drinkable on the 80 degree day we were having. In fact, while my beer didn’t win the competition it did make it to the second round of the top 15. Not too shabby I say.
While at the event I was asked many questions about the beer itself and brewing, some more surprising than others. A few asked what gave it its sweetness, what was causing whatever flavor they found in it, and what type of hops were in it. Those were easy to answer as I know flavors in-and-out in most cases. One person asked what percentage of the grains used was rye and another asked what temperature we mashed in. Those technical questions I couldn’t remember the answers to, but in my normal teacher response promised to find out. I don’t think they really care to know those answers now. Most commonly, people were surprised to find that a woman had made the beer, and asked how I got into home brewing.
Just because I have brewed 4 beers now I definitely don’t consider myself to be a home brewer. I don’t own equipment, for one, and I certainly am still learning the ins and outs of just the basic brewing process. But, I did make those beers successfully with some supervision from others so if makes one a home brewer then alright. What I can answer is why I created each beer that I’ve made over the past few years.
The main reason that I brew is because I want a particular beer that I can’t find. For example, my very first home brew was Breakfast at Tierney’s – a French Toast Imperial Stout. This was about 3 years ago, before we had Rogue Donut Beers and Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti/Donut Break so the thought of a beer with dessert/breakfast flavors was new and exciting. We brewed it using flavors we thought would turn out like french toast: cinnamon, brown sugar, and maple syrup. My second home brew was in the hopes of creating a caramel apple flavored beer. Sure, cider was a thing, but I didn’t want that I wanted an apple beer. Once again, we brewed using ingredients we thought would produce a caramel apple ale: apples, apple cider, cinnamon, and caramel. Each time the result was something completely unique and unlike anything I could find on the market around me.
Saison 26 and 27 were born a bit differently. Saison 26 was created last year because I was having a party for my birthday and knew that not everyone that was coming would drink craft beer. I certainly wasn’t wasting my money on a keg of cheap beer, but wanted my guests to feel comfortable, so I decided to show them all that craft beer can be approachable. Enter an easy-going saison which everyone engulfed in just over an hour and a half. Saison 27, well you already know that story.
There are many reasons why people choose to brew their own beer from cost/value to bragging rights and even for freshness and quality purposes. For me, it’s a way to express creativity and be able to freely suggest the creation something that I think would be delicious. Something I will want to drink and maybe you will too. It gives me the chance to experiment with flavor and ingredients outside of just during my cooking. Greatest of all, for me, it’s just plain fun.