Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Prairie Ale Review

Brewery: Prairie Artisan Ales | Beer: Prairie Ale
Style: Saison | ABV: 8.2% | IBUs: 25
Serving Method: 750ml bottle poured into tulip glass

Prairie Ale
Started by brothers Chase and Colin Healey in Oklahoma in 2012, Prairie is one one of the most exciting new breweries in the country right now. With an already wide portfolio of beers, a lot of the focus is on farmhouse and sour styles, though there are some big-hitter barrel-aged Stouts in there, too.

Here in Texas, we get a lot of Prairie's releases, which is awesome. Along with what Jester King is doing up in Austin, there are a lot of innovate new beers on the shelves here for farmhouse lovers such as myself.

I'm starting with Prairie Ale, what they describe as their classic Saison. The malt bill consists of pilsner, wheat, flaked wheat, along with some cane sugar. On the hop side, it's all Saaz. Yeast is where it gets really fun, with a mix of ale and wine yeasts along with good old Brettanomyces.

Here's how Prairie describe the resulting profile:
A healthy dose of saaz hops are used to add a spicy element to the beer. Notes of black pepper and pineapple can be found in this beer.
Finally getting Prairie on here has been a goal for a while now, so let's get to it, shall we?

Appearance: Big pop of the cork on opening. Pours thoroughly hazy golden-straw body buried under an out of control thick, white head. Initially, it pours five fingers of foam, but it settles down a little after a few seconds. After the initial burn-off, the retention is good, and there's excellent lacing.

Aroma: A mix of mild lemony and grassy hops, pale malt, and a good dose of barnyardy funk. Maybe a whiff of alcohol once it's warmed.

Taste: Spicy and grassy hops, lemon, white pepper, and plenty of classic brettanomyces character over a pale and wheat-like body. Each element meshes with the others nicely. The alcohol is masked perfectly, adding a little spice and hiding under the rest. Grainy pale malt, grassy hops, and a hint of funk in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and a little creamy with medium-high carbonation and a dry finish. Perhaps a hint of heat from the booze as it warms.

Drinkability: Drinks much more like a regular Saison than the bigger beer the alcohol content suggests.

Verdict: Prairie Ale is a solid funky Saison with a hidden punch that I could easily drink all day long and get into plenty of trouble with. As good as this is, I can't wait to see what else these guys are brewing up.

Grade: A (4.4 out of 5 stars)

Note: While this review is being published in 2014, the tasting notes contained within were taken when the beer was fresh in 2013.
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