Oak Aged Saison is part of Breckenridge’s “Brewery Lane Series,” a line of specialty brews that aim to be adventurous in style and approach. This particular beer is made with French Saison yeast and Gewurztraminer grape juice. The beer is aged for 55 days in oak barrels and clocks in at more than 10% alcohol. The beer’s abv is particularly surprising when you realize that many Gewurztraminer wines aren’t much higher than that.
Poured into a pint glass, Oak Aged Saison presents a rich, clear, copper color. The nose abundantly expresses the wild yeasty notes one expects of a saison along with a mild sweetness that likely comes from the grape juice. On the palate, the beer diverges significantly from other saisons and establishes Breckenridge’s unique take on the style. The Gewurztraminer juice blends with the saison into what tastes like a lovely hybrid of beer and wine. The beer flavor takes precedence, but the juiciness and spice of the Gewurztraminer grapes complement the saison beautifully. The high alcohol content is fairly well-hidden in the rich flavor of the Saison yeast and the bright acidity of the grape juice.
I applaud all efforts to push the envelope and see what can be accomplished with creativity and audacious brewing. Breckenridge’s Oak Aged Saison is a fine example of what happens when experimentation goes well. I can only imagine how well this beer would accompany spicy jambalaya, Indian food, or Szechuan Chinese.
A- / $NA per 750ml bottle / breckbrew.com