Drink Tampa Bay is an ongoing series chronicling locally made beer and wine.
This week we got hammered on the Saison des Mechants Farmhouse Ale and the Orange Blossom Cider brewed by Southern Brewing & Winemaking in Seminole Heights.
Saison des Mechants – 5.1%
Roy: (Smells) Nice, light…
Rusty: It’s almost like a citrusy coffee. A light bitterness like with coffee grounds, very lightly. But it’s got citrus.
Roy: It’s got a nice iced coffee look to the coloring.
Rusty: The color’s great. It had a decent head. Still kind of hanging around. It smells good… does it taste like a farmhouse?
Roy: (Drinks) It does. It’s good. A little bitterness to it.
Rusty: It’s a lot more bitter than I was expecting, based on the scent. I guess you can’t get so much bitterness in a honk. In one single honk. It’s got a lasting kind of bitterness.
Roy: The farmhouse ales I’ve had before – I’ve had two different kinds, some on the lower end of the alcohol content, this one at 5.1… I’ve had them up to 8. Those are the ones I’m used to.
Rusty: Do you think that there’s actually a farmhouse-
Roy: There could be… there’s a wooded area…
Rusty: There are some chickens in the streets in the area.
Roy: Who knows. Maybe it was imported.
Rusty: Does the taste come from the feces?
Roy: The hay. The manure. The sweat.
Rusty: The eggs. So this “farmhouse” is made of whatever you find on the farm. Pighoof.
Rusty: Compared to the higher end one?
Roy: This is more bitter. Maybe the higher alcohol content cuts into the bitterness. It’s heavier for how low the alcohol content is.
Rusty: It’s pretty weighty. You’re dealing with a lot of weight.
Roy: And it sticks around.
Rusty: In general, I like the smell a lot more than I like the taste. I don’t dislike it, but I got my hopes up for something else.
Orange Blossom Cider – 5.1%
Rusty: (Smells) There is a bit of orange rind in the sniff of that.
Roy: I do smell my beers, usually. Ciders? I don’t think I’ve ever smelt a cider.
Rusty: You gotta sniff it. Maybe rub a little on your moustache.
Roy: It [smells] very citrusy. A little tang.
Rusty: (Sips) WHAAAAT?? JESUS CHRIST. Oh my god. This has got a very round, appley, candy… it’s like a candy that really emulates the flavor. It’s like an apple candy that tastes like apple.
Roy: It’s not dry… it’s very sweet.
Rusty: Oh my god it’s like a soda.
Roy: Like if you took apple cider and poured seltzer water into it. It’s very sweet. I couldn’t… that would probably be bettered served in a goblet.
Rusty: It’s so sweet. I do enjoy sweet things. I like soda. I think I love it. It’s just got a nice, round, apple flavor.
Roy: The more I try it, the better I feel about myself.
Rusty: You wouldn’t know it was alcoholic in any way, unless you were told. It’s not the most crisp.
Roy: It’s not a crisp sweetness, it’s more dull.
Rusty: It’s well made. I enjoy it. I think it’s a great flavor. Magner’s seems in line with this… although Magner’s seems a lot more well rounded. This has a rounded sweetness to it, but it’s not a well balanced flavor.
Roy: It’s just sweet. It’s not a crisp taste.
Rusty: Magner’s is a better balance.
Roy: I’ve never had an alcoholic cider that tastes like this.
Rusty: It’s interesting comparing them back and forth, because – the same alcohol content, but they are the entire opposite drinks of each other.
Roy: (Drinks cider, then farmhouse) Oof.
Rusty: It really bites hard, going back to the farmhouse from the sweetness. It’s all the lens that you’re looking at it through… we came right off drinking the farmhouse, and it was not like it just was drinking it [after the cider]. The cider, just in general… anyone can enjoy it. It’s like a soda, but it’s something that I particularly appreciate, and so it’s going to stand out to me.
Roy: It is good.
Rusty: It appeals to me. It’s really unique. If you are in the area, and you have had any desire to drink a cider at any point in time in your life, check it out. It’s good, it’s unique, and you wouldn’t regret it.
Roy: Comparing the two? Again, same as last week, you can’t compare the two. And at this point, I would rather stick with the cider than have to go back to [the farmhouse].
Rusty: A more general review of the farmhouse: I don’t particularly care for it. It’s got a lot of weightiness that you’d attribute to a higher alcohol content beer.
Roy: It does taste like a farmhouse… just… a little less-
Rusty: A little less farm, a little more house.
The Orange Blossom Cider should be in regular availability, and the Saison des Mechants Farmhouse Ale is available for a limited time.
Listen to the full discussion here: