The summer solstice has come and gone, but I know you’re still looking for a way to retain a sense of this sweet season’s bounty, Lillith. May I recommend Dogfish Head’s Limited Release Bière de Provence? While it’s flavor profile may seem complex, riddled with too many summer herbs and floral notes, the results are undeniably refreshing.
This saison is brewed with Belgian yeast, lavender, bay leaf, marjoram and chervil. Essentially, all the things I love and not a thing more I could ask for. The floral elements are strong, and the beer is sweeter than I would have expected. Fortunately, the sweetness was natural and not unwelcome in complementing the earthy bay leaf. I found this beer tastes like a white ale or a witbier, despite sporting a high ABV of 8.3%.
Even if none of those descriptors– earthy, natural, floral, sweet– sound appealing to you, Bière de Provence is worth a try, if only because it does all of these things the right way. There are two caveats to my endorsement. First, a few reviews claim that it’s too “spicy”, which I can directly link to an over-consumption of Coors Lite. And second, if you don’t like lavender, you may not be able to get past it in this bottle. It’s the primary flavor, first and foremost in every sip.
Now, a bit of background: Dogfish Head is a popular craft brewery based in Delaware. It is widely distributed in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, but available almost everywhere in the U.S. Their most famous offerings are the 60-minute and 90-minute IPAs. I am not what you would call an IPA fan, but respect the brewery’s selection nonetheless. The Bière de Provence is the first Dogfish Head Limited Release I’ve tried, and it makes me enthusiastic to explore their variety more fully. Also, this quotation from Dogfish Head’s founder and president Sam Calagione upon it’s release is JUST delightful:
We are proud to release this culinary ingredient-infused beer on the 500th anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot. We have always believed this law is nothing more than a relatively modern form of art censorship.
The big release was on May 20, 2016, and I first purchased it in the middle of June. However, no sooner had I finished the four pack than I found all traces of Bière de Provence scrubbed from the liquor store fridge, and I’ve not seen it anywhere since. Come back, Bière de Provence, come back!