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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Saison Imperiale -- De Proefbrouwerij

I got a great box of samples from SBS, courtesy of Alan Shapiro, with mostly De Proef and some De Proef/Lost Abbey collaborations. I had the first one tonight: Saison Imperiale, a Belgian Farmhouse Ale that De Proef brewed once...for now. I didn't read any tasting notes or background on this -- except that I know De Proef, and they make some wild stuff, literally.

So I was expecting a DuPont-like beer, only bigger...but when I poured a beer with a distinctly coppery color, and a funky brett edge in the nose, I wasn't surprised. And this is a unique beer, or at least a rare one. It's 8.5%, malty/sweet in the body, but funk-edged the whole way through, that kind of cheesy rim that brett brings, the horsey/iron stuff. The fun thing is the pleasant amount of body that the malt and size of this one brings to brett beer. Brett beers usually run thin, at least in my experience. This has some malt to it, which I like.

Overall? I'd say, make it again, Sam. Hey, just got an e-mail from Alan: De Proef is making the Saison Imperiale year-round now. Excellent!


Anonymous said...

Alright, I'm going to be villified, folded, spindled and mutilated for this....but...its my

I want to start by stating that I am a loyal reader and have the utmost respect for this site and its writer.

That being said, I am appreciative of the tatsting notes, but in many instances they are beers that Joe Average (with a crappy local beer selection) will have NO chance ever tasting, seeing or rememebering. Case in point, the beer in the heading of this post..WTF?? I can't pronounce that let alone spell it.

I say this for several reasons, first, the poll on the website asking what we like the most (Lew, its your site) and if you wanna put pics of your dog up every day I wil STILL visit regularly, because its your site and you can do whatever the hell you want... period. But news and tidbits are preferable to opportunities that many of us will never get.

Other things are mentioned, like getting a box of samples that I can only salivate about and finding out they are in limited release and can only be gotten if you know the secret handshake on alternate Tuesdays in months with no "r". Hell, it took me three months to accidentally stumble on Beach Bum Blonde and I liked it, but summers' over... loser!!! (that sucked, it was a good beer and I only got to drink 3 of them)

Additionally, I feel that there is SO much trying to be covered in this blog that sometimes in an effort to tell us everything we are left hanging.. Case in point, the Bushmills interview...I'm waiting for part 2.

By no means am I making this an attack, but maybe a realistic look at things??? If I failed, then you can all spit in my beer. If not, then ...

Again, I know I will be crucified by many for this and perhaps rightly so, but it is nothing more than my opinion.

Lew Bryson said...

No need to apologize or set the stage; it's what you've got to say. If it really pisses me off or seems way out of line, I just won't put it up on the blog. So no problem.

As for the tasting notes, it's not really my plan to put up tasting notes on beers everyone's had or can get; what's the point? It's like travel writing: some of it I read precisely because I won't ever get there or do that. I've lived some places that were relative beer deserts, and survived on homebrewing and reading Michael Jackson.

Well, now I do get some of these rare beers, or at least uncommon ones. I don't write about them to brag, I write about them because they're striking, because they're new, because they're interesting. I've had a number of new beers since I started writing this that just weren't that interesting: I didn't write about them.

And yeah, I do leave you hanging sometimes. I've still never finished the trip report on my Czech trip from three years ago. (If anyone's waiting...we saw the cathedral, Pivovarsky Dom, drank a bunch of small brewery Czech beers, and I bought Cathy a pair of earrings; the rest of it you can read on Uncle Jack's site.) I do owe you the Bushmills interview, and just as it was getting interesting, too. But transcribing interviews is a lot of work, and I've been happily busy with a lot of paying work recently, which puts transcribing the Bushmills interview at the bottom of the list. Maybe while I'm traveling, now that I got a new laptop with much better battery life (bought with the proceeds of that paying work, BTW).

The poll? I wanted to get an idea of what folks liked. But I'll be honest: the blog's really just what I was thinking about on a particular day. I'm not selling ad space, or anything.

So. No worries, Bill. I'll try to get more of the stuff you like in. But the tasting notes? No idea what I might put in next.

Ed H. said...

Well, I'd say that bill mc's comments were out of left field...but I can't even find the website poll in which he refers.

Saison Imperiale however, has been plentiful in So. California for the better part of a year and I could not agree more...

...make it again, Sam.

Lew Bryson said...


The poll should be showing up on the left-side column of the blog, down a ways.

Anonymous said...

But Lew you forgot the prerequisite disdain for brewers who are making more and more high alcohol beers and the beer geeks who are "driving" them to do it. Or does that not apply to Belgian brewers, only US brewers?

Why won't this brewery make any session beer under the required 5% abv?

Lew Bryson said...

You know, Staff, old pal, I'm happy to answer these questions, but the same ones over and over...

First, I don't have any prerequisites when I write on the blog. There are no totems to kiss, no sacred cows to avoid, no advertisers to make happy. Just me, baby. The only thing I do like to do is tweak the majority.

Second, I don't have a problem with high-alc beers, just the apparently widespread feeling that beers have to be high-alc to be exciting. And I certainly don't have a problem with high-alc bret beers of this type, of which there are not over 100 already done and brewed: this is not a me-too beer, but a nicely done archaic type of beer, much like DeProef's Wild Ale, a kind of brewing Dirk Naudts is making a speciality.

And why don't they make a sub-5% session beer? Beats me, ask Dirk. Would I like them to? Sure. Do they suck because they don't? Heck, no.

Jeff Alworth said...

To add something to what Bill says--not exactly a rebuttal, but a different perspective--I appreciate these types of posts far more than the newsy ones. Since I live in Oregon, most of the newsy stuff relates to events/beers I can't access. Weirdly, beers from Belgium are MORE accessible.

(I host a site about Oregon beer, and I know I alienate folks beyond the NW, so it's not unfamiliar to me.)

As to the Saison--what's the hopping like? Dupont is characterized by that wonderful, peppery hopping--what's De Proef's like?

Anonymous said...

"Why won't this brewery make any session beer under the required 5% abv?"

Um...they do, under contract for a ton of label breweries. Quite a bunch at or under 5% too.

FYI and all. I'm sure they suck though.


Lew Bryson said...

Didn't really notice hopping through the brett, to be honest (and the sauerkraut might have had something to do with that...). But that's Belgium for you: "This is how I make my saison!

Loren: thanks. Duh. I thought I knew that, but couldn't find the backup to be sure.