Since moving to Roselle Park I've had to search out a new liquor store that caters to my sometimes eclectic tastes. In Montclair I had the ever reliable Amanti Vino on Church Street, which carried a large variety of hard to find and artisanal brews that ranged from interesting to mind blowing to putrid and back again. I was also lucky enough to live within a stone's throw of Glen Ridge Bottle King, which sported a decent craft brew section that included some of my favorite brands and brews.
After visiting some 'corner' liquor stores in Roselle Park and being thoroughly disappointed with what I saw - nothing more exotic than a Samuel Adams' Boston Ale - I came upon The Wine Depot in Union. Finally, after a month I found a place that had a respectable craft brew section.
I looked around and found what I consider to be the hallmarks of a quality beer department. There were local brews from New Jersey Brewing Company, Cricket Hill and Flying Fish. I found a nice selection of Belgian lambics, a section of hard to find 22 oz. specialty brews and the entire lineup of many of the better known craft breweries such as Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, Stone and Brooklyn.
In the 22 oz. specialty section I came across a beer I had only previously heard of, but had never seen in the wild - The elusive Brooklyn Sorachi Ace.
|Brooklyn Sorachi Ace|
Saisons as a group, or subset, of ales are unusual in that they don't share common characteristics within the group, besides the use of Belgian candy sugar as an adjunct. What they have in common is timing, as they are all traditionally brewed for consumption in the summer months. The lack of boundaries affords the brewers great freedoms in achieving liquid nirvana, and the Brooklyn Sorachi Ace is the epitome of what a good saison can achieve.
Brooklyn Sorachi Ace derives its name from the Sorachi Ace Hop. Relatively new to the hop scene, the Sorachi Ace Hop offers smooth bitterness with a spicy, lemony flavor. Another unique aspect of this brew is the use of champagne yeast to referment the brew when it is bottled. This gives the brew three fingers worth of bright white head and biting carbonation that persists long after the beer is poured.
From a flavor standpoint, the Sorachi Hops balance the +7% abv beverage with bitterness and spiciness that lend a drinkability usually reserved for weak brews and fruit beers. This can be dangerous! Halfway through the bottle I did a double take on the label to find out the alcohol content. My mouth was telling me it was 5% while my brain was thinking it was significantly stronger. Pale grains, white pepper and lemon dominate, with earthy yeast flavors peeking out here and there. The only drawback is that it comes off a little sweat, which is nitpicking and could easily be considered a positive trait.
I will most definitely be back at Wine Depot to grab a couple more bottles of this fine brew. At $9.99 per 22 oz. bottle, it is a little on the pricey side. But with this flavor, and a sizable alcohol dose it is worth it.
Overall impression: A-