Sep 4, 2014

Hardywood Saison Rustica

Just about every Hardywood Park brew I’ve had in the past couple of years has been outstanding. And so it is with each new beer of theirs that I pick up that expectations are high — not just in terms of flavor, but also quality. This bottle of Saison Rustica was bottled just a couple of weeks prior to my taking notes on it’s flavor and aroma. Needless to say, I had high hopes for a 4.5% ABV, fresh saison.

And the beer, for the most part, lives up to what I’ve grown to expect from the brewery. Saison Rustica has got good flavor with the local lemongrass influence bringing a light measure of tartness to the beer. There’s a good concept here with this brew, but it lacks something. Maybe it’s the relatively soft mouthfeel, but I would have liked this beer to be a bit snappier.

Hardywood Saison Rustica photo


A cap of creamy, off-white foam rests atop the golden, straw colored brew.


Light funky yeast, grass, peppercorns, lemony citrus and an overall herbal, earthy character dominate while a hint of that star anise floats in the background.

Hardywood Saison Rustica photo


Saison Rustica has good flavor that’s driven by a nice bit of barnyard funkiness. The peppercorns are present, but not as strong as in the aroma. Same goes for the lemongrass. And if I concentrate hard enough, I can pinpoint the anise. The brew has a clean, lingering finish. The body is good for the style, but the carbonation is way to soft. A saison needs to be sharper in this area.


I like what Saison Rustica has going on within its golden depths, but the flavors just don’t present themselves as much as I would like. The lack of crispness hurts this beer a bit — I want my saison to invigorate and refresh — this one just doesn’t quite get there. That said, there is serious potential with this beer. It just needs that extra snap to bring it all together.

Rating: 3.75/5

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