99 Bottles

Review: Brewmaster Jack Soleil

Every now and then a beer comes along that blows me away. I'm an admitted fan of saisons, a style interesting enough to grab my attention but restrained enough to pair with food and keep my palate in check. In the "Sips" column in Sunday's Globe I wrote about Brewmaster Jack's "Soleil", a saison I've had great luck pairing with harvest food. It's a beer that deserves an extended review.

jacksaison.jpg The captivating thing about Soleil is the nose. A friend turned brewer Tyler Guilmette onto the French saison yeast used in the brew.

"It gives such a great flavor and a good saison "funk" without being overly estery," says Guilmette. "The best part though is how attenuative the yeast is. Consumers tend to like their beers dry but a lot of the popular saison strains are notorious for stalling out when the beer is still very sweet. This yeast powers right through until there is almost no sugar left."

When poured, Soleil gives off whiffs of basement must, lemon, and used cheesecloth. Despite the descriptors, it manages to be both funky and bright. Time to dig in.

Soleil pours pale with lots of carbonation. The flavor is every bit as complex as you'd want a saison to be. Citrus dances with spice, and there's an undercurrent of funk that, while present, never really overwhelms. You have to like saisons to like this beer, but if you like them even a little bit, you'll love this one. The finish manages to be both sweet and crisp; an exceptional beer.

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