Most Brooklyn beers are made with a blend of hop varietals. As a chef does with spices, we look to get the best qualities of each hop and create a harmony of flavors and aromas. However, a few years ago, our brewmaster ran into a hop unique enough to deserve its own moment in the sun. A large Japanese brewery first developed the hop variety “Sorachi Ace” in 1988. A cross between the British “Brewer’s Gold” and the Czech “Saaz” varieties, it exhibited a quality that was unexpected – it smelled really lemony.
The unique flavor of Sorachi Ace was bypassed by the big brewers, but we thought it was pretty cool. So we made a special beer with it, and added the beer to our Brewmaster’s Reserve special draft beer program last year. Most Brewmaster’s Reserve beers are only available for a short time, and then they’re gone. But we liked this one so much, we decided to bring it back and give it the star treatment. Brooklyn Sorachi Ace is a classic saison, a cracklingly dry, hoppy unfiltered golden farmhouse ale, but made entirely with now-rare Sorachi Ace hops grown by a single farm in Washington. We ferment it with our special Belgian ale strain, and then add more Sorachi Ace hops post-fermentation. After the dry-hopping, the beer emerges with a bright spicy lemongrass / lemon zest aroma backed by a wonderfully clean malt flavor.
It tastes like sunshine in a glass, and that suits us just fine, especially with seafood dishes and fresh cheeses. It’s just the thing on nice summer days and beyond.
French & Belgian-Style SaisonBeers in this category are golden to deep amber in color. There may be quite a variety of characters within this style. Generally: They are light to medium in body. Malt aroma is low to medium-low. Esters are medium to high in aroma, while, complex alcohols, herbs, spices, low Brettanomyces character and even clove and smoke-like phenolics may or may not be evident in the overall balanced beer. Hop aroma and flavor may be at low to medium levels. Malt flavor is low but provides foundation for the overall balance. Hop bitterness is moderate to moderately assertive. Herb and/or spice flavors, including black pepper-like notes, may or may not be evident. Fruitiness from fermentation is generally in character. A balanced small amount of sour or acidic flavors is acceptable when in balance with other components. Earthy, cellar-like, musty aromas are okay. Diacetyl should not be perceived. Chill or slight yeast haze is okay. Often bottle conditioned with some yeast character and high carbonation. French & Belgian-Style Saison may have Brettanomyces characters that are slightly acidity, fruity, horsey, goaty and/or leather-like.
Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery