Tasting Notes: Nebraska Hoppy Saison from Earth Eagle Brewings

EarthEagleNebraskaPour_editedFor this installment of Tasting Notes, we reminisce on a recent vacation by getting into a can of Nebraska Hoppy Saison from Earth Eagle Brewings (Portsmouth, New Hampshire).

Proudly wearing a name inspired by an iconic Bruce Springsteen album and “the state of many farmhouses”, Nebraska is a Saison that has been “lusciously hopped” with Motueka and Mosaic hops.  Coming in at an easy-drinking 6.2% ABV, Nebraska was brewed by Earth Eagle to give “all those other farmhousey brews a run for their money!”

Nebraska is occasionally available in Earth Eagle’s taproom on draft and in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans.

Now that we have properly gone over the brewery’s brief description of this beer, let’s experience Nebraska by way of New Hampshire with some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Nebraska Hoppy Saison from Earth Eagle Brewings

Appearance: A gentle pour produces a Saison that is a deep yellow-orange in color and capped with just over two fingers of rocky, winter white foam.  When held to direct light, the yellows burst with radiance while a rich orange tone holds its ground at the core of the glass.  The beer is slightly cloudy but is still able to display a steady carbonation presence working about within.  A picture-perfect representation of the style’s unmistakable level of head retention, the foam barely falls at all and absolutely coats the glass with chunky streaks of lace.

Aroma:  The Saison yeast strikes first with beautiful notes of pepper, clove and subtle mustiness.  The featured hops lend delicate notes of grapefruit, lemon zest, mango and stone fruit.  Bready malts eventually surface with a touch of sweetness, but they are no match for that gorgeous yeast character.

Taste: The bready malts set the stage here before those trademark Saison notes steal the show with peppery spice, a nice earthiness and grassiness, subtle clove, and musty tones that mimic wet hay and an attic during a humid summer.  The hops have a bit more power here and brighten the profile with tones of grapefruit and tropical fruits, but notes of mango and stone fruit (mostly unripe peach and dried apricot) actually lend some support to that musty yeast quality as well.  A gentle floral tone rounds everything off and closes out the profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a medium carbonation level, this beer casually slips across the palate and finishes nice and dry.  The hops outwork the malts a bit, but they avoid taking the spotlight from the all-important Saison yeast character.  At 6.4% ABV, this beer does bring a light building heat in the throat, but it is not at all out of hand. The aftertaste leaves behind just a grace of yeast esters that easily entices the drinker to take another sip.

Final Thoughts: After landing in Manchester, New Hampshire and starting our vacation by road-tripping to Portland, Maine, we asked every brewer, bartender and server that we ran across along the way the same question: “What is the one brewery around here that we have to check out?”  The first answer out of everyone’s mouth was Earth Eagle Brewings.

That level of endorsement says a lot, but a beer like Nebraska says even more about Earth Eagle and quickly validates those ardent recommendations.  We say that because this is a wonderfully executed, classic take on the Saison style, and that is no small feat.  Yes, we are aware that Nebraska is listed as a not-so-traditional “Hoppy Saison”, but those carefully selected Motueka and Mosaic hops were deployed to balance and actually accentuate the elegant and dynamic nature of the chosen strain of Saison yeast.  The hops add some charm, but they know their place and never overwhelm. It is incredibly apparent that the brewers at Earth Eagle set out to make Nebraska shine bright as a real Saison capable of capturing the attention and imagination of European brewers dedicated to this style, and they clearly pulled it off in our estimation.

All in all, we can confirm that Nebraska is a truly special beer and Earth Eagle Brewings is a truly special brewery.  Be sure to check them out if you ever find yourself anywhere within driving distance of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Seriously.  Do it.  Prost!