Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Belgium Prickly Passion Saison review

New Belgium Prickly Passion SaisonLips of Faith beers are always something unique and special from New Belgium. One of the last 2011 editions of this continuing series is their New Belgium Prickly Passion Saison. It's a beer brewed with prickly pear (cactus) and passion fruit mixed together with a Belgian farmhouse yeast, Target & Liberty hops and Pale / C-80 malts.

I received this bottle as a complimentary gift from New Belgium in return for an independent review of the product. This is not a paid review, but rather one to let New Belgium know what I thought of it.

Prickly Passion Saison has the image of cactus blossoms on a prickly pair painted onto the bottle, so I knew up front this was going to be different. The brew weighed in at 8.5% ABV so this was going to be a stronger brew than most. I was curious about how parts of cactus and passion fruit were going to mix together. Saisons always seem to be quite the hit or miss adventure for me so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Appearance: Prickly Passion poured a clear looking golden orange. There was quite a bit of carbonation in this 22oz bottle and I got a nice 2 to 3 finger nearly white head in the glass. Swirling the glass left a nice thin white lacing on the glass that stuck around for a while.

Aroma: The aroma started off as a typical farmhouse saison, a bit funky, barnyardy with a hint of sulpher and spice, yet with a semi-sweet fruity nose unlike anything I've had so far. It's difficult to describe what prickly pear and passion fruit smell like, but it seemed to counter the funky barnyard of the yeast just enough to be pleasant.

As the beer warmed up, the aroma seemed to change noticeably. The smell got even more funky and less fruity as time went by. The yeast seemed to want to come to the forefront as it warmed.

Taste and Feel: With Saisons, I tend to expect a bit of garden spice and funk. Here, Prickly Passion gave me a sweet malty taste up front with a side of tropical fruitiness. Add to that some breadiness and a bit of herbal garden to boot.

The beer itself was full bodied, not at all watery. It had a creamy smooth texture and finished with a slight bittering effect.

Overall: While I continue to get used to Saisons, I found this beer to be at the least refreshing. I tend to drink Saisons a bit slower than most beers. The aroma of Saisons, and this one, tend to take a bit getting used to, so perhaps I don't enjoy them as much as others. Still, the beer seemed to be well made, filtered, well carbonated and clean. By the end of the bottle I felt satisfied and would end up recommending to those who enjoy Saisons, but perhaps not to the uninitiated.

New Belgium Prickly Passion Saison is better than the average Saison I've had. While I enjoyed it, I still would probably order something else if I wanted to have another beer later in the day. It seems that Saisons, like it did with IPAs, take time to thoroughly get used to and enjoy.

Video showing the pour of :
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Related articles:
- New Belgium Dark Kriek review.
- New Belgium Blue Paddle review.
- New Belgium VIP tasting highlights (Sept '11)
- Touring New Belgium's Liquid Center. (2009)

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