Cigar City Brewing
As the summer begins to wane in South Carolina, so to does my desire to drink as many lighter beers as possible. That includes saisons, one of my favorite styles of beers. So, if saison season is coming to a close, I better let it go out with a bang. That’s just what I did last Friday night.
Cigar City is tantalizingly out of reach for the rest of us in the South. Georgia’s lucky enough to get a shipment here and there, but for the most part, if you don’t live around Florida, you’re SOL.
But beer people are good people, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a bottle of their Cucumber Saison. (SPOILER ALERT: It’s a saison brewed with cucumbers.) I had heard raves about this one for a long time, but none of that hype did the beer any justice.
This is – hands down – the single best non-traditional saison I have ever had.
The beer pours a hazy translucent sunset orange color that’s a big lighter around the edges. On top is a massive foamy head about three fingers thick that settles slowly. There really wasn’t much lacing and the alcohol legs are nonexistent.
First thing on the nose is the crisp, clean cucumbers. It’s unmistakable, and you know what it smells like. It’s an incredibly refreshing smell. That’s backed with a big saison funk, that classic saison smell. There’s a definite citrus note to it and a slight grassy hop character, but the thing lives up to its name.
On the front of tongue, you get a big bite of tartness. It’s not overly strong but really nice, probably mellowed by the cucumber flavors. There’s huge carbonation follows throughout mouth as well. As it settles, the cucumber is unmistakable. It’s fresh, crisp, clean and works perfectly with the tartness of the saison. It needs little description: Just bite into a cucumber and you’ve got it. The best part is, the flavors linger on the back of the throat. That amazing taste sticks around and begs you to drink more.
This was a truly outstanding beer. I’ll never pass up a good saison, and the classic style is hard to beat for me. But damn, if this thing wasn’t perfect. I recently brewed a jalapeno saison, and the slight heat and flavors of the peppers worked as a perfect balance to the funk and sour saison. Cucumbers seem to do the exact same thing. The clean, mellow tastes keeps the funk from overpowering everything else and makes this a insanely good beer.