I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for a pretty bottle or can. If a beer’s labeling catches my eye in the liquor store, I’m probably going to buy it. I don’t think I’m alone in that respect.
And so it was that I noticed Strathcona’s Raspberry Saison from two aisles over on a recent trip to grab provisions. The soft pink wax-dipped bomber with the matching pink vintage-style label is a looker, and I bit. And I’m glad I did.
Strathcona has done a great job of expanding its repertoire over the past year, and Raspberry Saison is one of their most interesting beers yet. The name does the beer a bit of a disservice, however, because there’s a lot going on here—certainly more than you’d expect from a standard saison.
Firstly, the beer was aged in a Cognac foeder—a foeder is a large wooden vat, by the way—imparting some oak and tannin depth. After fermenting with a traditional spicy saison yeast strain, it was then refermented with funky Brettanomyces—a “wild” yeast responsible here for notes of hay, wet leather and a lusciousness that helps complement the raspberries.
This big Belgian-style sour farmhouse ale could probably benefit from a stay in the cellar for a year to mellow out some of the acidity and tannin, but it’s good to go right now.
Funky, sour beers aren’t for everyone, I know—but if you’re game, give this one a try. Much like the packaging, the flavours are bold and hard to ignore.
Raspberry Saison by Strathcona Beer Co. (7.4% ABV)
Appearance: Deep, brilliant ruby red with a fleeting light pink head.
Aroma: Acidic, tart raspberry, oak, fruit, funk.
Flavour: Tart raspberry, acidic, dark fruit, oak, vinous, earthy, brandy, moderate brett funk, pepper.
Body: Light-medium body with a dry, acidic finish.
Pairs with: Mussels with white wine, stanky-ass cheese, and those loud, funky pants the Norwegian curlers are so fond of.
- The Winter 2018 issue of The Growler is out now! You can find B.C.’s favourite craft beer guide at your local brewery, select private liquor stores, and on newsstands across the province.