Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Saison Summer (Part II)

This was the summer of the saison.  I was underwhelmed by two, impressed by two, and floored by one.  I've already reviewed one whiff, Prairie Artisan Ales's Prairie Ale (this was Part I).  The second saison that came up short was Fantôme's  alliterative Brise BonBons! - the most fun to say beer name ever.  Fantôme's beers, which are mostly some derivation of saison, are beers on the edge.  They challenge you, fight you, and force you to convert your initial taste shock to admiration by the end of the bottle.  I relished a battle with Brise Bon-Bons!, but peace reigned.

Sure, Brise BonBons! was yeast-forward with a sophisticated, spicy character (spices that I couldn't detect, so at least this part of Fantôme stayed true), and it had a satisfying, bitter finish; more bitter than I expected from a Belgian saison.  But ultimately it was a pleasant, borderline boring beer.  I know I would have thought more of Brise BonBons! if it was from another brewer, but Fantôme has a reputation to uphold, dang it.  From a beer named Ball Breaker, I wanted a precarious, dangerous beer, not a drinkable, approachable saison that flirts with mainstream for crying out loud.  

I'll write about the other three saisons in future posts.


Mark said...

I've had three bottles of the regular Fantome. The first bottle, years ago, was super tart, lemony, funky. The second (this summer) had an almost smokey, deeply earthy funk to it. The third (also this summer) was almost like a Saison Dupont clone, with just a hint of Brett. Inconsistency seems to rule the day with Fantome. In some ways, that's really annoying... but it's also part of the charm, I guess. You never know what you're going to get.

My bottle of BrisBonBons! was deeply funky, very earthy Brett character. I enjoyed it, but I've always heard a lot of conflicting reviews for all of Fantome's beers...

Beer Rover said...

I bought this bottle after reading your review. I'd like to try another bottle of this beer, and hopefully get some of the funk.