Being a craft beer enthusiast can be really fun, but it can also be a tad frustrating at times. I only say this because there are so many beers out there that are only available regionally. Hell, regionally is being way too generous, because many really good craft beers are only available locally, as in, if you don’t live in that town you’re pretty much fucked.
But such is craft beer life, constantly hearing and reading about beers that sound really awesome but being resigned to the fact just won’t have the opportunity to try many of them. Recently though, my long-forgotten birthday wish from 2013 actually came true as Smoth from Sublime Imbibing suggested an idea so great that my involvement in it was a foregone conclusion: A Tale Of Two Cities – Holiday Beer Exchange.
The two beers I got for Christmas were Jutsu and Farmhouse Classic from Bellwoods Brewery. Although I wanted to crack these bad boys open immediately upon delivery, I decided to save them for one of my favourite days of the year. Every December, I take a day off work to do some Christmas shopping, wrap said Christmas gifts, enjoy a couple of beers, watch a couple movies, and *treat every homeless person in Ottawa to a steak dinner. So as I cozied up near the fireplace and turned on my favourite Christmas movie, Only God Forgives, I finally got to drink these beers and jot down my thoughts.
*still in planning phase
My first beer was Jutsu, an American-style pale ale from Bellwoods. My anticipation and girlish delight was justified when I finally got to try some beers from Bellwoods, and Jutsu was a nice introduction to the brewery. First off though, when you pour yourself a glass, don’t be alarmed by the shit-tonne of rather large-sized particulate floating around your glass. There is more sediment in this beer than perhaps any I’ve ever tried, and I wouldn’t advise staring into the bottom of your glass during the last few sips.
My second beer was Farmhouse Classic, their resident saison.Even though it’s the winter season (sort of), there’s nothing quite like a well executed saison, and the fact that Bellwoods Brewery is striving for authenticity with this beer is evident in every sip. Other than Brooklyn Brewery’s famed Sorachi Ace, which is easily the best I’ve ever had, I can’t think of any other saison as purely enjoyable as Farmhouse Classic.
Farmhouse Classic’s subtly complex flavour profile is equally matched in superbness by it’s palate-tickling mouth-feel, created by the ill-used but totally worth it method of bottle conditioning. Primers are added to each bottle, which brings on a second phase of fermentation, creating the super-fine micro-carbonation that saison’s are well known for. The result is a finely carbonated and lively but soft effervescence that highlights the beers fresh-tasting nature.
Overall, two very enjoyable beers, and my hat’s off to Bellwoods Brewery and Smoth for furnishing this small Christmas miracle. I can see this happening at Easter as well.