Total Score: 8.2/10
Doing my (now) occasional wander through Dan Murphy’s I happened upon a certain Bridge Road I had yet to review, this Chevalier Saison, which did surprise me as I am quite fond of both Bridge Road and Saisons. They may not be the best brewer in the world, or indeed Australia, but their Chestnut Pilsner is IMHO a classic beer which I’ve always enjoyed. Here’s the rub: Saison is a style I’ve not had nailed by an Aussie brewer yet – it is indeed a difficult style to replicate due to the over-reliance on finicky yeast (I know, I’ve tried to homebrew one, it was a disaster). That said if any Australian brewer can nail a Saison I’m sure Bridge Road can.
Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Cloudy pale straw body with a massive 4 cm bleached white head that slowly recedes to a still decent 2 cm. Very much spot on Saison appearance, I’m giving it as good a score as Dupont here. 8/10.
S: Barnyard hay funk right on the nose with flourishes of apple/pear esters and musty yeast round out the aroma – this is about as Belgian as a beer can smell without actually being from Belgium – colour me impressed (which takes on an overall purple/gold hue). 9/10.
T: “The yeast is strong with this one” – Darth Brettanomyces. That said the yeast isn’t tarting up the brew like most yeast-driven beers it is more on the musty/dry/white wine style of yeast. Other flavours noted are: Cider apple with a slight orange juice citric note, and some Champagne Brut characters – quite a vinous Saison here, but in a good way. Refreshing on a hot summers day, and the Saison style was originally devised for parched hard working farmers, we owe a great debt to them! 8/10.
M: Mid to light bodied with a light but sharp carbonation – right in the Saison zone. 8/10.
D: So we Aussies can brew a half decent Saison. Chevalier is proof enough for me. Although it wasn’t a perfect replication as it could have used more funk in the flavour and less dry/musty/wine characters. Still in a blind taste test with Belgian Saisons I would be hard pressed to pick the Australian pretender, and that in itself is a major accomplishment by Bridge Road, bravo sirs, and at $14 a 750ml bottle it’s $1 cheaper than Saison Dupont (though I would pay that extra dollar for Dupont any day of the week). 8/10.
Food match: The bottle label recommends scallops or cheese platter – sounds about right to me.