Beer of the Week 7/23/11 to 7/29/11
One of my favorite beer companies right now is Notch Brewing. They are part of the session beer movement in the US, focusing on beers brewed with an ABV of 4.5% or less (this ABV cutoff could be a very long post on it's own, but I will spare you that!). These session beers are styled after English beers where the point is lower alcohol so that you can have multiple over a long session without getting completely drunk or feeling awful the next day.
Notch is brewed by Chris Lohring, formerly of Tremont Brewery. Notch currently has two standard offerings, their session ale, and a session pils. They have also brewed small batch specialty beers for The Haven restaurant (70 Schilling and a heather ale) as well as a special Dark Mild cask for the American Craft Beer Festival.
Notch's current limited release is the Notch Saison. Saisons were originally brewed for farm workers as something to quench their thirst on the fields. As you can imagine, they were brewed at a low alcohol level since drunk field workers aren't very productive!
I first tried Notch's version on cask at the Drink Craft Beer 5th Anniversary party at Stoddard's. I immediately fell in love with it. The saison pours an orange color with a frothy head. The head goes away pretty quickly leaving some lacing on the glass. The smell to me is fruity, some citrus, and yeast. The flavor also has the citrus flavor but there is a wonderful bitterness to it. I really like how it is sour and bitter but I'm not put off by it. The bitterness makes me want to go back for more!
Right now this is only a limited release in 22oz bottles and on draft in select places. I really hope that it becomes a regular beer because it is one of my favorites. I'm going to stock up on some 22 ounce bottles just to be sure!