Review: Stillwater Artisanal Extra Dry Sake Style Saison

Review of Stillwater Artisanal Extra Dry Sake Style Saison from Stillwater Artisanal Ales in Baltimore, MD.

Beer Type: Saison  ABV: 3.8%  Tried from can.

Their Description: “Brewed with rice and designed to mimic the subtle and drinkable flavors of sake, this low alcohol saison is the softer side of Stillwater.”

The Reality: This beer has a light golden color and a mild grassy citrus scent. The flavor is subtle pine lemon hoppiness with faint notes of iron in the finish. It is very crisp, light, aromatic and effervescent. There is a short burst of bitter aftertaste that evaporates quickly off of your tongue. I would say it is “extra dry”, “subtle” and “drinkable”, as they claim.

Final Verdict: I’ve got to give credit to Stillwater Artisanal for trying to craft a beer that reminds us of sake, and to some extent they were successful. There are some things in the flavor profile that can remind you of sake, but there are also some things in the flavor profile that reminded me of Pabst Blue Ribbon. When I closed my eyes and sipped it I actually felt like I was drinking a quality/craft version of PBR at moments, it just has that flavor aura to it. It is certainly more bitter in the finish and bolder in flavor overall, not to mention made to a higher standard. Still, I feel like the soul of this beer can be perceived as sake essence or as a PBR echo depending on how the sip hits you. It’s kind of like when you watch an episode of The Bachelor/Bachelorette and at times it feels like an old episode of The Dating Game and at other moments you sense that you’re watching Survivor.