Unrepentant beer drinkers, rejoice! Each week, Clean Plate Charlie
will select one craft or import beer and give you the lowdown on it:
How does it taste? What should you drink it with? Where can you find
it? But mostly, it's all about the love of the brew. If you have a beer
you'd like featured in Beer of the Week, let us know via a comment.
The first time I had a saison, I was not sold. All that funky tang, that sweetness, that incessant carbonation. It was like someone put some bad wine in my beer.
That incident probably kept me away from saisons -- a type of very dry, spicy, wild-tasting seasonal beer -- a lot longer than it should've. After all, there are some really great farmhouse-style beers out there. And lately, beers that drink a little more like wines -- like saisons -- are becoming ultra-popular. Among them is Bam Biere, a bottle conditioned farmhouse ale from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales.
Jolly Pumpkin is a relatively new brewery from Dexter, Michigan that focuses on creating naturally fermented, bottle conditioned,
and oak aged ales. All three processes can lead to some unpredictable
results in brewing. But when honed properly, each can produce some
truly unique flavors. American brewers are becoming more adept at
fusing these Old World techniques with their bold, crazy New
World-style beers, and the results are stellar.
Bam Biere is a bottle conditioned ale, meaning it was fermented in a
vessel but moved to the bottle with yeast intact to carbonate and
mature. It's a great example of this new breed of beer in that, on
first blush, it appears to be just a mildly hoppy, shimmering ale with
a lightly foamy head. But underneath that is a complexity that's not
unlike a glass of white wine. There's a layer of fruity sweetness and
tart tannin-like flavors, and underneath that is mild spice and a dry
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finish. It's the kind of beer you want to pour into a long-stemmed
glass and pair up with something strong.
If you try Bam Biere, treat it like a wine. Buy a 22-ounce bottle from Whole Foods for about ten bucks, grab a couple of wine glasses, and pair it something with
aromatic and creamy like blue goat cheese or sharp cheddar. Pour it small and savor, swish, and smell. You just might gain a new appreciation for saisons. I know I did.