A saison for the season

Last week a bunch of us went on another pub crawl. You can go here to see what happened last time around.
This time we hit all the same places – just in reverse order. So that means we started at the Illawarra Brewery, where they had their new seasonal Saison du Soleil. Utilising my mad French skills from being dux in Year 12 (and not at all because I used an online translator), I knew that translated to ‘‘Season of the Sun’’.
Using my slightly less mad beer skills, I thought releasing a saison during summer seemed an odd move. Traditionally this spicy, fruity style was brewed during winter, and would seem a bit too heavy to be a companion to the warmer months.

But Illawarra Brewing Company brewers Ashur and Shaun have tweaked things a bit to make a more fruity but less heavy beer that goes down pretty easily indeed. There’s a slight hint of spiciness and orange peel on the nose and in the taste. The taste is nice and citrussy, which would be due to the addition of Australian and New Zealand hops.

I understand from Crafty Pint’s NSW correspondent Nick O that Ashur and Shaun used their fave French saison yeast was used, but fermented at a lower temperature which gives it a drier finish. I’m not sure about that brewer-talk but it does end on a dry note.
And it was so good that I had two of them.

The crawl also confirmed for me that I don’t like Dagwood, the self-described bar and hot dog joint. Once again there were a fair few people in there. and once again they were all considerably younger than me (a fact I mention to be fair – maybe I’m not supposed to like it ‘cause I’m too old).

I guess the focus of my dislike is the rather poor beer selection for what is supposed to be a cool bar. They had the same three beers on tap as last time – Kirin, Hahn SuperDry and JS 150 Lashes. But the Lashes wasn’t working, which meant the only style on tap was lager. Why a bar with just three taps needs two devoted to lager is a bit of a headscratcher.

The selection in the beer fridges was just as curious – they’ve essentially got three different versions of Corona. There’s Corona itself and two cheaper versions in cans – Moritz from Barcelona and Tecate from Mexico. Buy one of those cans – as I saw a number of people doing – and you’ll get a wedge of citrus jammed into the opening at the top (which breaks my beer rule – if you have to add something to a beer to make it taste nice, perhaps you should be rethinking what you’re drinking).

So I opted against a beer at Dagwood and save the drinking room for my next stop, which was The Little Prince. Fingers crossed that by the time of our next pub crawl, there’s something nicer on at least one of those taps.

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