As far as beer goes, this one was quite different.
Long Trail is a mainstream brewery, but their Bush and Barrel Saison is a unique and strong (7.1% ABV) craft brew. The Saison is only brewed once each year, and is therefore limited in availability.
The initial aroma was strange but the mixture of pale malt, wheat, and oats explained a lot. Now according to the tag on the bottle “there is a fruity bouquet of Belgian yeast character,” I think my nose could not find this, but I did catch a spicy hop aroma.
So, I poured it into a stein. Out came a clear, golden, almost a lemony glow, with a rather a big head and intense carbonation, so I had to give it a chance to breathe. Once it settled, the lacing was just right. Taste time! The most important step I think, so what I found right away was the pale malt and oat, but balanced nicely together with a light bitterness that reveals a dry, effervescent finish.
Which brings me to the lovely brew master who created it. I bring you Dave Hartmann who joined Long Trail in 1992 but left in '94 to earn his brew master accreditation through London's Institute of Brewing and Distilling. After some time doing brews in the U.S. and Germany, he returned to Long Trail in 2009 having brewed some pretty amazing styles in his 20 year career, Dave continues to find wonder in the magical combination of malts and hops.
My overall impression of the Saison is... acceptable. Not something I would drink on a regular basis like Red Stripe or Blue Moon. On Beer Advocate this brew rated 85; very good. So somewhere out there, people do enjoy the taste. More than likely, I would use it in the kitchen, to cook pork chops. This is one of those beers for a cloudy day when there’s not much to do but listen to some tunes and stare out the window.