This is a beer someone brought me back from a holiday in Yorkshire a long time ago. With a bit of comedy in mind, I am tempted to say that I use the phrase ‘holiday in Yorkshire’ lightly. In the interests of diplomacy [and truth], however, I must say that Yorkshire is a lovely place, where its rich history is matched only by its vibrant arts scene, stunning natural beauty and a fine selection of damn good pubs. The breweries aren’t half bad either, so let’s take a look at Bad Seed Brewery’s ‘Saison’.
As many of you will know, Saison is a traditional Belgian style of beer, where ingredients such as orange and coriander have been used to add an extra dimension to the flavour. What I like about Bad Seed is that they’ve used honey, ginger and ‘seeds of paradise’ [no, I’ve no idea…] to give a “modern, zesty twist” to a classic.
- Brewed in Malton, North Yorkskire
- 6% ABV
- Available in 330ml bottles
- Malts: lager malt and wheat
- Hop: Green bullet
Look I think the bottles are kind of sweet. They use a block colour to add character to a simple label design, then add a tag around the neck. I know it’s a small thing, but I find it charming.
In the glass it’s cloudy, as you’d normally expect with a Saison. It’s orange-y/brown-y when held up to the light with good head retention and a hint of sparkle. 6/10
Aroma A crisp wheatiness and a fresh orange juice plus zest greet the nose. The freshness is striking and there’s a good potency of smell, which I like. 7/10
Taste Nice and orangey. Very much like eating the fruit with a touch of zest, rather than the ‘general orange extract’ flavours you associate with lesser Saisons. There’s a refreshing fizziness, which stops short of orangeade [wow, spellchecker accepted that one], that really tickles the taste buds. There’s a nice hint of herbs, too, which I guessed was coriander. It’s perhaps a tad too sweet for me, but it wouldn’t necessarily put me off having another. 7/10
Value Well on the brass tacks side of things, the bottle cost £2.70. It’s certainly not bad if you’re looking for something sweet and refreshing, but just not cheap enough for a session. 6/10
Session In terms of the session experience, I think this one divides opinion into two camps. Yes the flavours are lovely, and as you sip on, the ginger and the honey intensify. It’s not too strong, either. But there’s the ‘too sweet’ camp – and those folks won’t want to have more than one or two of these. Unfortunately, I’m one of them! 5/10
This is a wonderfully playful take on an old beer style. It’s one I’m glad I’ve tried, and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it to both connoisseurs and beginners alike [yes, even if this is your first beer, I don’t think you could go wrong]. For me, though, I just couldn’t have a lot of it in one go – and this has led me to mark it down a bit.
Final score: 62/100