Grassroots Arctic Saison | Grassroots Brewing

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Grassroots Arctic SaisonGrassroots Arctic Saison

Brewed by:
Grassroots Brewing
Vermont, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This ale embodies the spirit of perpetual creative collaboration in conjunction with disciplined brewing endeavor.

We trekked to Alaska and helped craft this rustic Saison, bringing with us the essence and imagination of our Vermont Farmstead family.

Brewed and Bottled by Anchorage Brewing Company, Anchorage, Alaska

Added by N17shelfside on 07-17-2013

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Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 790
Photo of chinchill
3.08/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Clear light rose color with a decent head; slightly hazy.

Barnyard aroma with some much more inviting fruity aspects. Mild tartness, light funk and mixed fruits dominate the taste.

Feel: Body should be both livelier and a bit fuller.

O: Moderately complex and nicely original.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.18/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Snatched this one up earlier tonight; I'm really excited to try my first faux-Hill Farmstead (Hill Fauxstead?). I don't really get the whole subsidiary structure nor do I pretend to understand what the implications are for the beer, but because it kinda sorta has Hill Farmstead's name on it, my expectations are sky high. This is my first Hill Farmstead beer, if we're considering it one. Cost was $10.99 USD. Batch #1. May 2013. "Ale fermented in oak tanks with brettanomyces." Sign me up! 6% ABV confirmed. Distributed by the Shelton Bastards. 750ml brown glass bottle with hood-and-wire cap (aka cage) over a cork served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

Served cold, straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Yields a light plunk upon opening; carbonation is indicated to be adequate but not too high.

A: Pours a three finger beige colour head of nice creaminess and frothiness. Plump lightly supple complexion. Appears soft. Retention is superb - about 8+ minutes. Light even lacing as the head recedes. A pretty standard head for the style but a well executed and attractive one.

Body colour is a cloudy yellow-copper. Transparent and translucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. It isn't the hazy milky appearance I've noticed in the best saisons, but it's appealing overall.

Sm: Subtle oak notes with traces of a very light buried toasted wood character. Brettanomyces are certainly detectable, with a pungent diverse funkiness that definitely seems more complex than your run of the mill American brewed saison. Grainy and grassy. Lemongrass. Touches of lemon zest and other citrus. These fruity notes are nicely complemented by the floral and lightly fruity hop profile, which imparts some nicely adhered juicy citrus character. Pear. I'm hesitant to say pineapple, but there's something a bit sweeter and juicier here. Clean malts, straw, pilsner malts. A sticky wet aroma of above average to mild strength. It's pronounced for a saison and anything but ubiquitous, though I don't know that it's necessarily unique. Well executed for the style. Not getting the white pepper and milky notes you'd find in the best examples of the style, nor is there much in the way of complex subtle spicing, but I'm optimistic given Hill Farmstead's reputation alone.

T: Hm. Definitely more fruity and juicy than the style conventionally calls for - especially in the second half. Funky throughout in a general sense, but it never really evokes the intricacies or nuance of brettanomyces yeast character. As far as the yeast goes, I don't get any white pepper, clove, biscuity character, or deep complex funk. Just a sort of middling attempt at a backgrounded funkiness.

Body is interesting. Lots of pear fruit and some lemon bouncing around over top a healthy base of clean pils malts, light filtered wheat (?), and straw. A clean flavour profile which unfortunately lacks the subtlety and complexity inherent in the best beers in the style.

Hopping is primarily floral and complements the body nicely. Bits of fruity wisps don't amount to much.

It actually feels like it has more alcohol than it does. Where is the oak?

Balance is alright. Flavour intensity is average for the style, as is flavour duration. Honestly, I'm pretty underwhelmed. I like it in a general sense and it's pleasant, but there's just nothing remarkable about it.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Soft. Lightly juicy on the back end. Nice body. Way too thick for a saison, though - especially one with such limited depth and diversity of flavour. Overcarbonated. Suits the flavour profile kind of, but I'd say the execution is actually below average. There's something off about it. Not oily, harsh, gushed, hot, or boozy.

Dr: Boy. I don't know if this was just an off bottle but I'm not at all impressed with it. If Hill Farmstead's other beers are this pedestrian I'm in for a lot of disappointment. I definitely wouldn't get this again - especially at its high price. The alcohol could be far better concealed. The thickness impedes drinkability. Wouldn't recommend it to friends. I'm withholding judgment of Hill Farmstead because this is both a collaboration and a weird subsidiary situation but I have to say I'm let down.


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Photo of Dope
3.22/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Batch 1, May 2013.

A: Pours a hazy golden-orange. Enormous and fluffy white head. Head fizzes out slowly, leaving thick streaks of lacing everywhere. Some of the heaviest lacing I've ever seen in fact. Big island of foam too. Nice.

S: Big tart citrus notes, orange peel and sour lemons. A bit of graham cracker, making it almost like a lemon meringue type aroma.

T: Quite tart/sour citrus notes up front. Lots of it. Kind of a lactic sourness in the middle like spoiled milk...lingers for a long time. Very funky. Light bready malt in the finish but mostly overpowered by the sour notes. Kind of a bad milk aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, sour and crisp.

O: A very tart/sour/funky saison. Too much, pretty much overshadows the normal saison characteristics and not in a good way. It's not horrible but not great either. I drainpoured it - not worth teh calories.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle

A: Pale, semi-opaque gold with a firm lasting head.

N: Plenty of earth, pine, banana. Some mustiness. Lemon and oak. Very well balanced with its floral and wood elements.

T: Soured and quite bitter. Really falls apart for me here. Wood adds another bite. Too many hops, not enough malt balance. Yeast and funk are prevalent.

M: Crisp, but biting. Feels like this is stretched out too far on the tongue.

O: Not my favorite example of the style. Leans too far towards the funk and oak without any balance to bring it back to enjoyable.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.59/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From Batch #1- May 2013. Sampled on August 11, 2013. Why does this say brewed by Anchorage Brewing of Anchorage Alaska on the label if it is brewed in Vermont? Is it some kind of contract thing for the East Coast?

Anyway the pour is a decent looking, slightly cloudy pale yellow with a soft, fluffy head on top that sits there for quite some time but eventually fades down.

The aroma has a faint Belgian malts and Belgian sugar note but the citrus and tartness exposes itself early on taking over the nose.

The body is light to medium.

The taste begins with a roasted maltiness but just like the aroma the citrus grapefruit tartness kicks in from behinds and remains on the back of my throat for a few moments.

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Photo of rdickey
3.59/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pale gold, with fine white bubbles swirling up from the bottom. A rocky white head drops fairly quickly, leaving scattered lacing.

Smell: The nose is an interesting mix. The expected peppery spiciness is there, along with lemon and lime citrus. There is an additional element, though, that is somewhat minerally. I don’t get any funk until it warms up a bit, and even then it is pretty mild.

Taste: White pepper, slightly more Brett funk than is apparent in the nose, and a little fruit tartness start the party. There is an interesting vinous element, along with more lemony citrus, and a slight hint of the oak aging. The mineral element continues, and influences the largely dry finish. It definitely gets more interesting as it warms, so make sure you’ve got your temperature calibrated appropriately.

Mouthfeel: The medium to high carbonation lets this once dance a little bit. It works and seems to alleviate any perceived weight from the oak.

Drinkability: This is a pretty sessionable beer, and would probably do well on a sunny summer day.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opaque straw yellow with a big foamy bubbly head.

Spicy peppery lemon bubblegum on the nose.

Tastes like light barnyard funk enveloping the above aromas, with banana candy very far in the background.

Arctic is kind of a shy, unimposing Saison--for the legendary status of Hill Farmstead, and the sudden notoriety of the up and coming Anchorage, it's a touch underwhelming.

While refreshingly tart, it actually does feel like it has a sort of arctic chill to it, like some greater quality may have been shocked out in the cold.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A very cool c&c 750ml sent to me from Dope (thanks!) split with a mate and poured into my Rock Island snifter.

A: Hazy straw with a quickly-receding crackling white head.

S: Big oaky and fruity Brett notes immediately, with a touch of a grassy (hop?) undertone. Fruit is pear, some citrus, even lemon peel...slight sourness with a tart hint of grapefruit and pineapple.

T: Creamy oaky undertones, funky sour fruit flesh and lemon zest, slight pils malt sweetness and other saison qualities shine through with a yeasty effervescence.

MF: Creamy medium body.

O: Decent, more sour and funky than I'm used to in a saison, this leans 'wild' without being out-of-control. Half a bottle of this was pretty pleasant.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle marked Batch #1, May/2013. Poured in a shaker pint, the beer is a bright, hazy, golden wheat coloring with a steady flow of carbonation throughout the body and a clingy, bubbly, chunky, bright white head that has a decent retention around half an inch. Nose of buttered biscuits in the backbone, with floral highlights, toasted grains, and a subtle dose of spices, including pepper, orange zest, and coriander. Flavors of sour and tart forward, with an acidic undertone. Citrus tart profile follows, with a heavier spice blend of coriander, all-spice, pepper, orange zest, and another solid shot of sour. The aftertaste is citrus and sour, with a slowly regressing boldness. The finish is tart and tangy, with a slightly drying feel and spiced linger. Decent brew, with a building spice profile as the rest of the palate quietly subsides. Interesting.

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Photo of Jonada
3.77/5  rDev -8%

750 ml bottle poured into a wine glass. Batch #2. March 2014

Appearance: Pours a golden yellow with 1+ finger of a white head that dissipates to a thin cap. Body is very hazy but translucent with lots of visible carbonation.

Smell: Pear, wheat, lemon, peppery yeast, light funk and hints of pineapple.

Taste: Highly tart with a lighter sour acidity. Lemon, good amount of bretty funk, pineapple/tropical notes, some green apple and floral hops. Medium bitterness that lingers for quite a while.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a soft mouthfeel. Carbonation is high/medium. Finishes tart and dry.

Overall: Pretty good saison. Nice funk and tartness, but would like to have seen the bitterness turned down a bit, as I feel like it doesn't really work with the rest of the beer. Still worth picking up though.

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Photo of mwilbur
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 750 mL bottle into tulip.
A: Pours a slightly hazed lemon yellow with high carbonation producing a 2-3 inch bubbly white head. Excellent retention and lacing.
S: Sour and funky brett, citrus, white pepper, earthy minerals, grains...and it even smells dry/astringent.
T: White pepper and citrus and more dominant here...much less brett. Oak and a hint of lime. Honestly, a bit of a let down after the aroma.
M: Light body. Moderate prickly carbonation. Dry finish with just a whiff of bitterness.
D: Had high hopes for this started out well, but didn't quite hold up. A decent example of style, but nothing special. Still, a nicely refreshing and solidly sessionable brew. Would go well at your next picnic.

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Photo of impending
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 4.25


750ml Batch 1 May 2013 into a tulip. Pours a fully hazed dull orange tinged yellow, towering frothy brett head, the lacing dangles.

A nice sweet mango citrus balances the brett. No funk, strictly upbeat, bright and clean. The oak is present but restrained.

Brett now dominates. Peppery. Peculiar herbal grassy bitter with a touch of zinc. No more dry than a twang. Shy of medium bodied mouthfeel doesn't feel appropriate. Lacks must. The final fading flavor is of the oak.
my expectations were exceedingly high
I hoped this would be to the level of Seizoen Bretta
let alone Oak Aged Seizoen Bretta
unfair of me I realize

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Photo of rand
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle to tulip glass

A: The brew has a yellow-orange color with a cloudy haze, while an easy pour yields a huge, fluffy white head that never really recedes at all.

S: The nose is straightforward farmhouse with a lemony bent - Brett-funk, dried grass, commercial rubber, cherries and lemon. Crackery yeast edges the bouquet.

T: Flavors follow, although a little more hoppy than the nose portends. Plenty of funk, and depth of flavor with nuances of lemon peel, white pepper, flower petals, and a hint of cherries. Oaky and crackery overtones throughout the sip, with a short, clean and refreshing finish.

M: Light-medium bodies, relatively low in carbonation for the style.

Nothing fancy here, just a tasty Saison that could work as a session brew.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle, split

Hopleaf tulip - aroma was offputting - moldy fruit and cheese. Flavor profile was an improvement with notes of lemongrass, mild brett, lots of hay, cheese, grass. All 3 grassroots beers i've had have been slightly underwhelming.

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Photo of nataku00
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle, batch #1 from May 2013, poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours a hazy yellow straw color with three plus fingers of white fluffy head. The head dissipates quickly, leaving some light lacing and craggy mounds of foam everywhere. Carbonation streaming up quickly everywhere in the glass, very effervescent.

Nose is farmhouse yeast dominated, sweet fruity esters with spicy white pepper, coriander and herbs like sage and thyme. A bit of wild brett quality, light earthy barnyard funk and pineapple. Some biscuit malt sweetness and lemony citrus notes as well.

Taking a sip, big herbal, grassy and pine hops, fairly bitter, mingling with some lemon zest, white pepper, and earthy funk. Not much malt presence in the taste is herb bitterness dominated, along with a brett aftertaste of wet soil and hay.

Light body and heavily carbonated, but very soft on the tongue. Really dries out your mouth. Pretty interesting wild saison, but the saison yeast seems a bit overwhelmed by the wild counterparts and the hopping.

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Photo of mothman
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A bit bretty after being in the bottle for a while. White head. Golden orange color.

Funky with saison and oak notes. Wine and fruit notes. Light lemon citrus. Dry.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a light golden amber with a two finger white head with good retention and pillowy lacing. Aroma of saison yeast, citrus, sour apple, funky. Flavor is citrus rind, brett, sour apple, coriander, peppery spices, finishing with acetic sourness and light bittering hops.. Light bodied with nice active carbonation. A lot going on here, lots of sour citrus fruit and a moderate amount of brett. A bit too sour for me, but should please tasters who like a tart bretty saison.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle I brought to share on the beer bus to San Diego.

Batch # 1. Bottled 5/2013.

Pours a hazy yellow-orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, earth, yeast, and Brett aromas. Taste is much the same with Brett and yeast flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of Brett bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that showcases a solid earthy Brett presence in the aroma and flavor.

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Photo of concealed
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Great Beer. Perfect on a cold New England night, that feels like the Arctic. Thanks to IndyDad for throwing this in a trade.

Overall this beer is a very Bretty Saison, and it follows all of the stereotypes you would imagine.

Appears quite attractive, lots of foam and creates excellent lacing. Opaque.

Smells like pears, fruits, brett

tastes pretty tart, but not as much funk as I expected. some fruits like green apple, lemon peel, and also a peppery yeasty farmhouse taste

overall it is a great winter saison

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.

Pours a nice slightly hazy pale golden color. Pale straw golden with a nice white dense and fluffy head. that is about 1.5 in tall. The retention is impressive. Its really sticky and follows the glass the whole way down.

Aroma is of dry funk. Wood notes a plenty. Slightly moldy and musty oak with some hay notes in the nose. There is slight fruit juice notes from the yeast. Mild pear and some slight phenolic notes. Seems quite dry.

Flavor starts off pretty Bretty. Notes of funk and horse blanket, somewhat tart notes are present. Very woody and musty. There are notes of hay and some slight fruity juice notes on the back end. Slight tart notes mixed in with the juice notes. The brew is straight forward but delicious. Mouthfeel is of fluffy and crisp carbonation with a nice slightly tart and dry finish.

This is a pretty good brew. Yummy notes of of funk and brett with a nice fruity backdrop with some slight spice.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours a hazy straw yellow. Head is of decent stature. Its bubbly and frothy. Some lacing is left behind.

S-Starts off funky with a bunch of Brett. Light grassiness and cereal with some subtle sweetness.

T-A cool representation of the nose. At first, I get a big, buzzing Bretty flavor. The funky, herbal Brett note dies off and then it becomes a much more traditional Saison. Grassy, with some cereal notes and some more relaxed yeasty notes.

M-Quite drinkable. Putting back a 750ml of this was easy-peasy.

O/D-It starts funky and wild then re-composes itself. Interesting flavor transition. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch#3 (thanks Will!). 750ml corked and caged bottle served in a tulip. Pours a dull, orange-gold with a semi-translucent clarity and a frothy, half-inch, bright white head that eventually settles into a solid slick. Copious tiny bubbles are present effervescing in solution. Delicate strands of lacing are revealed during the tasting. Aromas come off bready from afar; however, as I pass the glass under my nose I also get a light, lemony quality as well as soft Bretty notes; albeit not overly medicinal or funky. Taste consistent with nose; however, there's also a kiss of light fruit - perhaps a trace of apricot towards the back. Flavor profile is not overly assertive and slightly watery with a mild tartness. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body (but closer to light) with a pleasant, even carbonation, and a kiss of acidity. Overall, a nice looking beer in the glass, but nothing particularly stands out for me. It might be worth seeing if the Brett becomes a bit more assertive with time and brings out a layer of complexity.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml caged and corked bottle, Batch #1. Thanks be to the good doktorzee for procuring this for me from sunny SoCal. Fantastic pop when the cork was dislodged, rather easily, I was glad to see.

This beer pours a hazy, cloudy, medium tarnished golden yellow colour, with three fingers of puffy, spongy, and finely foamy rising off-white head, which leaves a solid pattern of snow crystal lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of edgy, grassy, and mildly funky yeast, grainy pale malt, a touch of wheatiness, indistinct dry citrus rind, mildly woody oak staves, and spicy, earthen hops. The taste is a fairly tart kick to the palate - sourly acidic apple and citrus, astringently funky Brett, raw wood fibers, stale, dry leather, musty white wine lees, and understated earthy, herbal, and spicy hops.

The carbonation is fairly tight and frothy, the body a pleasant enough medium-light weight, whose smoothness is pretty hard to discern among all that heady funk and acid (hipster band name pending). It finishes on the dry side, as the graininess of the wheaty malt isn't sturdy enough to keep fending off those Brett and oak overtones.

A generally approachable Saison - from afar, of course, until your taste buds acclimatize, if they ever do. A lot going on here, the wood the most innocuous of the bunch, while the guest bacteria does what it does best, and the citrusy hops do well to keep things adjacent to traditional beer territory. Quite well made, this one is, and definitely worthy of seeking out, especially if you're an avowed funk-head, eh, Greg?

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Photo of scotorum
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bought at the Warren Store in Vermont a month ago, first I'd seen of this Hill Farmstead/Anchorage BC collaboration. Then later in the day the Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier had cases of it on sale for about the same price ($11). My first Hill Farmstead and Anchorage Brewing Co. anything.

Poured from the 25 oz. bottle into a stemmed tulip glass.

a: A hazy gold topped by a huge white head which receded quickly to a surface foam film and considerable lacing.

s: Mild overripe fruit.

t: Somewhat sharply sour fruitlike flavor I could not identify exactly but no doubt the Brett yeast had something to do with that. Grew on me in a short while and became a fine sipper to the end. I was on guard against some unpleasant tastes from the Brett yeast, but was pleasantly surprised that it was so drinkable and tasty. Rather sour aftertaste lingered but not offensively so.

m: Good body, smoothness subdued by sour notes.

o: Enjoyable brew, really lets your palate know it's there, better than expected.

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Photo of MacSon1982
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: light and golden in color and transparent. 3/4" of white creamy head. Head retention was on point. Tons of bubbles rode up the glass throughout. Zero lacing lines during enjoyment...

S: lemon and bits of citrus. Strong Brett musty funkyness as well...

T: medium spice, medium low tart, strong lemon, and solid bready yeastyness...

F: medium to medium high feel. Medium acidic tart, medium low dryness.

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Grassroots Arctic Saison from Grassroots Brewing
4.1 out of 5 based on 790 ratings.
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