Total Score: 8.35/10
“Renaissance”, “Enlightenment” these are hefty terms for any Medieval history/Buddhist aficionados out there such as I, and Renaissance Brewing from NZ throws these words around like white rice at a wedding. Regardless of their cavalier attitude to beer naming this Sencha Saison piqued my interest immediately as it merges together two seemingly disparate and awesome things – green tea and Saison – it could have had those words scrawled on a label-less bottle with a POSCA marker and I still would have bought it. Marketing tip brewers: I will buy intriguing beers no matter what the label looks like.
Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Hazed light amber body with a massive 1 inch white soap bubble head that rapidly dissipates leaving some decent spider web lacing on the side of the glass. 7/10.
S: Wow, aroma hits you like some sort of green tea/candied citrus truck accident at a busy intersection – in a word ‘intoxicating’. Other noted aromas in this menagerie include: Honey, hibiscus flower, jasmine, tangerine and overripe pear. This is a stunningly floral fragrance – perfume-like. Can I get this in a cologne? I’m talking to you Calvin Klein. 10/10.
T: Flavour is a restrained version of the aroma [as most NZ brews are dammit!] with the above notes: Green tea, honey, hibiscus flower and jasmine. With the addition of lime and interestingly some peppery/ginger spice thrown in as well. Finish is an odd mixture of tannic tea and that classic Saison sour yeast character. Overall the flavour really grew on me but didn’t come close to that brilliant floral aroma. 8/10.
M: Medium bodied with a light but dense carbonation. 8/10.
D: Surely if there was an award for experimental flavoured brews this would be up there with Mikkeller Cucumber Witbier, HopDog Chai Fighter, HaandBryggeriet Tindved and Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta as being: The most different from conventional flavoured beers that I’ve had yet. Perhaps an award with too long a name but a competition I would love to adjudicate. I recommend this to any tea loving beer drinkers out there – a sublime combination to the beer/tea dichotomy awaits these brethren (or sisteren if you’re not into the brevity thing). 8/10.
Food match: Perhaps it was the rising sun on the label but this brew really made me long for a sashimi platter, and some sake… it’s probably the label.