Believe it or not, Winter 2014 is rapidly coming to a close. We’ve already “sprung forward” and moved the clocks ahead an hour, and in just two short days, the first day of spring will be upon us. Little league baseball practice has already begun, the G-LO family’s summer vacation is booked, and the lawn service should be around any day now to spread some fertilizer and pre-emergent crab grass killer (I’m still a city kid at heart, so yard work is not in my DNA. I subcontract that stuff). In addition to all of that, the “soon to be an everyday thing” warm weather means cold beer in pool and beach friendly packaging, i.e. canned Craft Beer.
Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of enjoying many of the canned Craft Beer goodness that comes from Oskar Blues, 21st Amendment, Sly Fox, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn, and many others. Pilsners, Stouts, Lagers, IPAs, Pale Ales, Scotch Ales, Saisons, and even a Barleywine. Name any beer style, and there’s a good chance that we’ve tried a version that was available in cans.
Back in October, I read a HILARIOUS review of Stillwater Artisanal Ale’s latest canned Craft Beer offering by our blogging buddy Scott of the Beerbecue blog. Much like myself, Scott was on the hunt for a refreshing and session worthy beer. Here are his exact words:
This Summer, I have been on a search for an everyday beer. While the Haybag might disagree, it’s not like you can always drink beers that are so big they leave their shirt on at the pool. And ticking something new every day can get tiresome.
My go-to shall be interesting, but not an attention whore. It shall be enjoyable, yet easy to shotgun. It shall not leave me wishing for something else. It shall be conducive to multiple beverages while tending to the smoker in the Summer or watching Notre Dame disappoint me in the Fall, but also just drinking one with lunch or dinner…or breakfast…or mid-morning snack.
In case you haven’t already clicked the link to Scott’s review of this beer, he wasn’t kidding about the whole shotgun thing. Scroll back and click the link to see him shotgun one. It’s an amazingly graceful performance. As I said in my comment to his post, “I would have either had the can spraying beer all over me, or I would have puked while trying to drink it as fast as I can”.
As luck would have it, during a recent beer run to The Foodery, they just happened to have a can of Stillwater’s Classique in stock. As is usually the case, I only picked up one as part of a mixed six pack, so as far as this blog post goes, there will be no shotgunning.
And now for my impressions of this beer…
- Appearance: Slightly cloudy pale yellow color with a thick and bubbly head of foam that rises to about an inch and then dissipates slowly. Moderate lacing.
- Aroma: Yeast, lemon zest, clove, a hint of pepper, and some fresh herbs (maybe cilantro or parsley).
- Taste: Velvety smooth carbonation with what feels like teeny tiny bubbles that pop and fizz on your tongue. Not as intense as your higher octane Saisons. Starts off with some lemon zest and fresh herbs followed immediately by some of that yeastiness. Dry and slightly tart at the finish. Leaves you with a slight pucker and a mildly bitter lemony aftertaste.
- ABV: 4.5%
Given that this is a Session Saison type of beer, it’s impossible to avoid comparing it to Victory’s Swing Session since both are Farmhouse Ales with an ABV of 4.5%. My only complaint with the Victory Swing Session was with what I thought at the time to be an almost overly pithy lemon finish. The finish on Stillwater’s Classique is what gives it the ever so slight edge over Victory’s Swing Session. Overall, I found the Stillwater Classique to be crisper, cleaner, and a touch more easy drinking. Since it’s been almost a year since I had my last Victory Swing Session, it sounds like a side by side tasting is in order.