Craft brewing is a relatively new trend in New Zealand with the Lion and Db breweries controlling the entire beer market until the mid 1980’s. In 1986 the Shakespeare Brewery in Auckland became the country’s first craft brewery. Over the past several years, the cultivation of rare an unique hop varieties in New Zealand has jump started a new craft brewing movement. 8 Wired Brewing in Marlborough is one such new brewery with a knack for creating unique and odd beers.
Saison Sauvin is a Belgian Saison by style brewed with homegrown Nelson Sauvin and Motueka hops. The Saison is a style of beer traditionally brewed by farmers for refreshment during the harvest season. The style of characterized by peppery hops, lemon and zesty fruits as well as funky, earthy farmhouse flavors.
Saison Sauvin pours a bright golden yellow with a fuzzy short lived white head that dies as bubbles pop. A thin half finger of porous white foam remains with a few specks of lacing. A steady stream of fine carbonation surges upwards. The aroma is mildly musty with a zesty lemon and citrus peel note. A hint of wheat malt, with a few notes of black pepper and floral hops. The nose is fairly standard for the saison style with a bit of an odd fruity nuance. I’m not quite sure if I sense the New Zealand hops in the aroma, but I hope they create a unique flavor profile. The mid-palate is a bit sweet with floral hops up front and mild tropical fruits making an appearance. A hint of zesty lemon and musty funk notes come through in the traditional Saison style. Letting this guy warm up in the glass I notice an old green grape and vegetative floral flavor. The finish is mildly bitter with a bit of pungency and a lingering musty earthen flavor. Overall this is a great New Zealand twist on the traditional Saison style.
Grade: 89/100 Price: $10.79