Blackbird Fly!

Friday, June 06, 2008

So I didn't know that a Merle is a blackbird. I should have guessed by the label, but I'm not really very smart. But what I do know is that this lovely 750mL, corked-and-capped bottle of North Coast's Le Merle, compliments of Around The Keg regular George, is one Hell of a saison. Thanks, George. This blackbird was a rare treat!

A side note: I love me some saisons. I like the spicy sourness of the armoatics and the taste. I love its relative lightness of body. I am hell-bent right now to brew a good saison and not ruin it by drinking it way too early. Brewers note: I am in the market for a good saison recipe.

So where was I? Ah, right. Le Merle.

The corked-and-caged aspect of the beer bottle added a hint of authenticity to it, like this has been lovingly stored in a Belgian or French farm house cellar somewhere, waiting to be imbibed after a long days' work. "Pop" goes the cork, and I was off to the races.

It poured a beautiful apricot-gold color, nice and hazy, with a big 3-inch fluffy head like a meringue. As the head receded, it left thick lacing down the sides of my glass (which seemed, inaudibly, to thank me for the bubble bath!). I poured it on one of those nice warm, upper-70-degree days as we ate dinner on our back deck. Idillic.


This beer is a beautiful mix of summertime fruits: lemons, oranges and sweet peaches. Underneath is some coriander and peppery spice, which when taken with the fruit aromas makes this beer a gourmet fruit salad, garnished with a hint of flowers from the hops. There is also a touch of alcohol; just a hint and not overwhelming, as well as some bready and malted notes to round it all out.

I dove right in. Fruit salad indeed! All that lovely citrus ran all over my tongue, filling it with sweet-but-tangy tangerines and oranges, lemons and pepper, flowers and coriander spices. What an amazing mix, and yet it was light and subtle and mixed so well with sweet malt, white bread and crackers and a hint of alcohol; not so muc to make it a burn, but just enough to add some spice so you know it's there. Perfect. It had a slight bitterness to it; more than many other saisons I have tried, but the Guidelines allow for a "moderate to high" bitterness without dominating, which this beer pulls-off really well.

The medium-high carbonation and the lighter body gives this beer a wonderful, refreshing effervescent feel to it, and it finishes with a pleasant tangy dryness. This is, conceptually, an absolutely beautiful summertime-on-your-deck beer. Well done, North Coast, and I can't thank you enough for sending me this beer, George!

Lansing-dwellers, I am working with Oades Big 10 to see if I can get a case delivered.

5 comments:

Bob "Chief Beer Advocate" 11:12 AM  

"Lansing-dwellers, I am working with Oades Big 10 to see if I can get a case delivered."

Nice.

You read my mind. As I was reading I was thinking: This beer sounds great, too bad I will never drink it.

If you need to add to your order at Oadies, I am in.

George 11:40 AM  

You're welcome, and here's hoping you can get it stocked in MI.

Smitty 1:48 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Smitty 1:49 PM  

I gotta say, the key to this beer was subtlety. All of the flavors were present with dominating one another, and the total combination of all the flavors weren't HUGE. It wasn't ORANGE! TANGERINE!! FLOWERS!! SPICES!!! WOO HOO!! It was "Oh, by the way, how about some citrus and spices. Nice?"

Rickey Henderson 12:03 AM  

All that lovely citrus ran all over my tongue, filling it with sweet-but-tangy tangerines and oranges, lemons and pepper, flowers and coriander spices. What an amazing mix, and yet it was light and subtle and mixed so well with sweet malt, white bread and crackers and a hint of alcohol; not so muc to make it a burn, but just enough to add some spice so you know it's there.

It's official, there's no reason whatsoever why you're not writing for a beer publication. It's the only medium where you can write prose like that and still get away with being masculine. What do flowers taste like? Rickey's never eaten one.

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