#FloridaBeerFriday: Saison de Banc Noir From Green Bench Brewing

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Every week, we take a look at a craft beer brewed in Florida. Follow #FloridaBeerFriday for more reviews of Sunshine State brews. Get out there and #DrinkLocal.

A couple of months ago, during the warmer summer months, I traveled out to the west coast of Florida to find some beers, bringing back a bottle of Green Bench Brewing Co.'s Saison de Banc Vert, and subsequently reviewed it for this here blog. Luckily, this St. Petersburg brewery is seeing some wider South Florida distribution, which means that some of its exciting lineup can be found in local stores. The beer this week was one of those acquired at a local beer purveyor.

The Saison de Banc Noir is a 6 percent alcohol-by-volume dark Belgian beer aged in oak and naturally conditioned with Brettanomyces yeast; yes, this is a soured farmhouse saison.

For those following along at home, it falls under category 25B in the 2015 Beer Judge Certification Program style guidelines, emphasizing that the overall impression of this style of beer should be, most commonly, "a pale, refreshing, highly attenuated, moderately bitter, moderate-strength Belgian ale with a very dry finish." Darker versions, like our selection here, do exist but are considered less common.

From the Green Bench website:

"By combining the rustic, peppery flavors of our farmhouse yeast strain with the complex dark fruit notes of roasted wheat and dark Belgian candi syrups, we’ve created an intricately delicate 'Black Saison'”.

It pours highly effervescent caramel to chestnut-red color, fairly clear, with a meringue-like khaki head that forms stiff peaks. It's a struggle to pour this beer properly, as over half of the glass fills with foam, even with a well-rinsed glass. Aromas begin with a classic Belgian tartness full of plums and cherries, with a hint of acidity following.

Upon sipping, the mouthfeel is ticklish from the proliferation of bubbles. Flavors begin with a hit of tartness that moves into a bitter midsection that has a big, funky flavor profile. It ends a bit dry with some lingering tart cherry character.

Overall this is a flavorful and complex beer, styled in the fashion of an Old World beverage but with an elevated flavor profile. It's best to be gentle with the pouring or you'll end up filling the outside of the glass as well.

Saison de Banc Vert was picked up a few weeks ago at Craft Beer Cartel in Fort Lauderdale.

Green Bench Brewing Co. is located at 1133 Baum Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Call 727-800-9836, or visit greenbenchbrewing.com.

Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers. He is a Certified Beer Server and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.

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