St. Somewhere Athene Saison (7.5% ABV bottle)- Saison- St. Somewhere Brewery, FL
Grade: A- BREW OF THE BLOG!
Athene initially pours a bright crystal clear yellow with a nice but unremarkable head; the classic beer look. As you bring the glass to your nose you get a big bouquet of white pepper with an undercurrent that’s almost champagne-like. It’s intriguing to say the least. With the first sip that white pepper makes itself known right away and gradually gives way to the lively zest of coriander and delicate floral notes. Hints of grape and even bubblegum sneak in before everything disappears into the dry finish. There’s a bit of hop to it, but the bitterness of Athene is more herbal and spicy. The mouthfeel is crisp and lively with its sharp carbonation heightening the overall zing of the flavors. The alcohol is generally well hidden which isn’t a bad thing, though you will notice it if you put away a whole 750ml bottle by yourself.
Since this is a bottle conditioned brew there’s a fair amount of yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle and with saisons it’s down to personal preference if you want to decant it carefully or if you want to agitate things. I went half & half pouring the first glass off clear and careful, but I gave the bottle a big old swirl before pouring the remaining glasses. The addition of the sediment gave Athene a fuller mouthfeel, helped to mute the sharp edges of the peppery/herbal bitterness, and generally imbued it with a nice richness. Next time I get my hands on a bottle I’ll probably go with the agitation straight from the start.
Athene is almost exactly the taste I prefer from a saison: crisp, floral, with a slight bite. Those who swear by the grassy hop tang of European saisons like Du Pont might find such a suggestion to be heresy, but for me while I’m a big fan of Du Pont the flavor can sometimes remind me too much of far less enjoyable Euros like Pilsner Urquell, Grolsch, or Heineken. Athene is delicate, but punchy. Well worth the searching it might take to find it and the extra couple of bucks to buy it.
Pop the cork! -John