I am not sure if The Bruery intends Saison Rue (French) to translate to Season Street, or Street Season, but either way, they have a nice, French-sounding name for this brew (brue?). The Bruery, of Placentia, Orange County, California, was founded in 2008 by Patrick Rue: ah, now I see where the Rue comes from. The company prides itself on brewing Belgian-style experimental ales. I find it interesting that The Bruery uses its own Belgian yeast strain. This means that they obtained ale yeast from Belgium, and “bred” it into their very own mad scientist strain. They experiment with other plants, such as grapes and orange peels, in some of their ales, as well as certain bacteria, such as those found in yogurt. Finally, they age their ales in wine and bourbon barrels — a fact that I personally really, really like.
Saison Rue (8.5% ABV) is billed as an unfiltered, bottle conditioned, Belgian-French-style farmhouse ale. Traditionally, a saison-style ale is an ale brewed on farms in Wallonia, the French part of Belgium. The ale is usually relatively light, brewed then stored in barrels in the cold season, for later drinking in the hot season. The Bruery’s saison is brewed from malted rye, which is special in itself, as rye beers have a different sort of flavor, a sort of crisp and spicy flavor that is complex and profound.
Bottle: This lovely, understated bottle exudes class. A maroon background with faint hatching and pale yellow lettering, it looks like it was meant to be sipped at an upscale, Parisian bistro. Brown glass, and a luscious, curvy, Burgundy-wine-bottle shape complete the look.
Pour: The color is just right: golden, but not cheap yellow, with moderate amber undertones. The head is calla lily white, three fingers thick, and nice and dense, and it dissipates slowly with medium-thick lacing.
Aroma: This ale offers a fruity aroma, with ribbons of bananas, white grapes, apples, pears, and citrus fruits. The unmistakable, pungent scent of cloves beats at the nose, along with humid earth, aged leather, and barnyard funk. It is a very, very complex aroma that I found positively delightful. On top of all of this is the spiciness of rye, along with a wild yeastiness that is very pleasing.
Flavor: Spiciness and cloves hit the taste buds first, followed by a flood of fruit as found in the aroma. The rye imparts spiciness, earthiness, and complexity, while a hint of hops add a pleasant bitterness.
Mouthfeel: The body is medium-full, and very fizzy. This ale is highly-carbonated, as the head indicates, and in the mouth, the carbonation is certainly present.
Structure: This is a very structured, balanced ale. The rye and the hops counterbalance each other, and the barrel aging certainly adds stability and chemical complexity to the structure. This is a truly excellent beer.
Food Pairing: The body, complexity, and spiciness of this ale lend themselves to foods with complex sauces. I would feel comfortable pairing it with French bistro cuisine, such as smoked salmon with a Hollandaise sauce.
Overall Rating Out of 5 Possible Beer Mugs: