Feb 10, 2016

Highland Brewing Saw-Whet Saison

Saw-Whet Saison, named for the smallest predatory owl on the east coast, is the first of three new seasonal beers from Highland Brewing for 2016. The 6% ABV saison has been dry-hopped to give it a bit more of a hop bite than most (50 IBU), but the beer also presents another dynamic that I wasn’t quite expecting. With the yeast traits and a bit of White Wheat in the malt bill, Saw-Whet also gives off a bit of a hefeweizen-like character.

The beer has a good bit of peppery yeast, grain and a soft, late-forming funk as is appropriate for the style, but the initial wave of banana and wheat was a surprise. I’m not the biggest fans of hefeweizens, but that mental translation of what I am tasting actually works pretty well in conjunction with the more traditional and expected saison flavors. The brew makes the tastebuds think a bit momentarily before wrapping everything up nicely.

Saw-Whet is a refreshing brew with a unique character that leaves a lasting impression. It’s overall nature and combination of flavors makes for a nice transitional brew as the upcoming warmer months start to creep in.

This is a review of a promotional sample.