QTN™: Harpoon Saison (100 Barrel Series)

I’ve written about Harpoon’s limited 100 Barrel series before—including the Oatmeal Stout, the most phenomenal offering in the whole series. But I need to amend that last statement. The new Harpoon Saison is the finest beer yet to come from this particular brewery… and I say that not just as an aficionado of the Saison style in particular and most Belgo-French styles in general, but as a fan of fine beer in all its forms.

The nose is a good start—bready with banana undertones promising good complex esters in the taste. The taste doesn’t disappoint either—up front hoppy brightness, opening into a bready but bright (lemon? spices?) body, with a pleasantly lemony aftertaste.

The more impressive part, though, is the nature of the middle part. If you close your eyes, the Saison could be a French Saison or even a Belgian—Lisa’s comment was “It tastes like LaChouffe.” This is high praise indeed for an American beer in general and a New England beer in particular, this region not noted for its Belgophile beer styles.

This last may be the biggest obstacle to the Saison joining Harpoon’s regular lineup. It’s so different from Harpoon’s regular styles that I can’t get my mind around it. It’s like Sam Adams suddenly brewing a Duvel. But the disjoint in styles may ultimately be a good thing. Harpoon’s regular lineup has been stuck for a long time. But suddenly a raspberry-flavored Hefe has joined the family, and maybe some more will come. I vote for the Saison sticking around for a long long long time.