Sunday, 1 January 2017

12 Beers of Christmas - Day Twelve - Burning Sky Saison Anniversaire

Day Twelve - Burning Sky Saison Anniversaire (UK, 6.2%)

I'm a day late again, either because I spent New Year's Eve partying wildly, or because I fell into bed, full of pizza, at 10:30. One or the other. I did manage to fit in a beer, though, and I thought it would be fitting to see off 2016 with something from Burning Sky. I named them as best UK brewery in my recent Golden Pints round-up, and Saison Anniversaire seemed a fitting example of what they do so well.

There's a powerful white wine aroma upon pouring, a product of the Chardonnay barrels used to age the beer - all white grapes, black pepper and passion fruit, and hugely inviting. The white wine note carries into the flavour, along with some lemon. There's also a burst of herbal flavour - the label tells us the beer is "lightly spiced", but doesn't tell us what with. My guess is chamomile, a flavour I could only recognise from other beers that have used it. There may also be some pepper in there, or maybe this is just an element of the chamomile flavour, but it works beautifully, accentuating the dry finish expected of the style. That finish is very tannic, too - a little woody, perhaps some grape skin, with a touch of quinine bitterness recalling tonic water. Although subtle here, I'm starting to think of this as a house character common across many Burning Sky beers. It's fantastic.

Billed as "a celebration of everything we love about saisons", its probably their most conventional example of the style to date - dry and peppery, well-carbonated for refreshment value - but at the same time has wonderful depths and complexities. A fine way to close the year, and a good reason to be excited for what 2017 will bring.

The start of the new year also marks this blog's second birthday, so I'd like to take this chance to thank everyone reading it. I'm still having a blast writing it, and doing so have definitely made me more curious, has developed my palate, and has put me in touch with some great people. My new year's resolution is to get out and meet more of them. Happy new year, everybody.

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