Maui Lemongrass Saison – The Review

As I said in my previous post, the place where I work has a good selection of Maui Brewing Company’s beers, and I’ve been taking the opportunity to sample them. I’m always curious when American brewers take on classic European styles and like to see whether they’ve ‘pulled it off’ or not. Was this Saison going to satisfy my thirst and uphold the Belgian traditions that it’s built on? The Maui website says they have used local lemongrass, along with three different malts and Nelson Sauvin hops, so the stage has certainly been set – it should be lovely.

Vital Statistics:

  • 5.0% ABV
  • Brewed on Maui, Hawaii
  • Comes in cans (12 Fl Oz/ 355ml)
  • Belgian-style beer
  • Limited release (Spring/Summer 2013)

Taste

What I expected from the style of beer – candied lemon with a zesty tang. A smooth maltiness combined with fresh herbs and I think I picked up a wee bit of spice too, just tingling a little on my tongue. It was nice and lively too, the fizz giving it a bit of a refreshing edge. I’d definitely rate it ‘nice’, but for my personal tastes it was perhaps a bit too sweet.

7/10

Aroma

Definitely an interesting aroma, if not a spectacular one. Very malty (the page I linked you to before says it contains Pilsner, Vienna and Munich malts) with fruity hints. A nice fresh smelling beverage.

6/10

Appearance

The branding is typically iconic with a picture of an Abbey on the can (a reference to their collaboration with California’s ‘Lost Abbey Brewery’ during the making of this beer). Also, there are a few words from a brewer at Maui and another from The Lost Abbey, which got their passion for brewing across nicely. In the glass, it’s a very yellowy affair. Plenty of carbonation and a wee touch of cloudiness from all the malts.

6/10

Value For Money

It is one of the more expensive Maui beers, and to be fair they’re not cheap in the first place. This can retailed at £3.99, and at that price I wouldn’t buy another. That’s not to take anything away from the taste. I think as an American take on a classic it did its job: the flavours were all there, but didn’t blow me away or anything. What I’d suggest is going for Hill Island Brewery’s ‘Thai PA’ (couldn’t find a proper website for them, which is a bit annoying, but you can check them out on Facebook). That’s a stunning ale inspired by the typically Belgian flavours like lemongrass, but better balanced by hops and much more to my liking.

5/10

Brewing Uniqueness

It’s just a little bit unique! It’s a Hawaiian beer, brewed in conjunction with a Californian brewery, based on a classic Belgian recipe. Then you add that it’s a limited release (so actually rather rare) and it comes in cans (helping to keep the condition at optimum levels for longer), so it’s a very unique little bevvy. I’m glad I got the chance to give it a try!

9/10

The beer itself was good, not great. The whole experience, especially reading the story of its conception on the can, was bigger than just the taste. I must say, though, that the Maui Saison isn’t the best American effort I’ve had. When Goose Island tried to make a British ale style – ‘Honker’s Ale‘ – they absolutely nailed it. That is one seriously nice beer. But when Maui tried this Belgian lark, yeah they did okay. Certainly go try it if you love the Saison style or if you’re after a reasonably sweet, refreshing beer, but I was expecting more, based on the brewery’s reputation.

Final score: 66%

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