Review: Sneak Attack, 21st Amendment

Sneak Attack
21st Amendment Brewery — San Francisco, CA

  • Style:  Saison
  • Bitterness:  38 IBUs
  • ABV: 6.2%
  • Malts:  Pale, Crystal, Belgian Light Candi Sugar
  • Hops:  Magnum
  • Special Ingredient:  Organic Cardamom Pods
  • Sampled:  12 oz. can

Description: "You might not expect a Saison in winter. But the enemy didn’t expect Washington to cross the icy Delaware, either. Expectations be damned, we say. We’re sneaking up on winter with a boatload of bravado and this Belgian-style farmhouse ale. Dry hopped with whole organic cardamom pods, our Saison has an assertive spiciness. In your face, winter." — 21st Amendment Brewery

Random thoughts:  I'm sampling Sneak Attack as part of my series on spring seasonal beers. I love 21A's can art. Thanks to the panorama feature on my iPhone, I was able to capture the artwork in its full glory.

The tasting:  Light golden straw in color, crystal clear, with a white head that dissipates fairly slowly.  The cardamom is immediately recognizable in the aroma.  Clove and light coriander are also present in the nose. All of the same elements are noticeable in flavor with the addition of bready malt and mild alcohol. There are light earthy hop notes, but overall bitterness is low, which allows the spicy flavors to shine. Sneak Attack is light bodied, dry, crisp in mouth feel, and finishes with long lingering cardamom. 

Rating: 4 star. Really Good! I want this again!  I’m very familiar with cardamom because it’s commonly used in Indian cuisine—especially desserts. I had reservations about how it might taste in beer, but I was pleasantly surprised!  Cardamom is a perfect complement to the typical spicy notes that result from Belgian yeast strains. As a spice, cardamom can be overpowering. However, I thought its level was perfect in Sneak Attack. This would be a great summer beer! Unfortunately, Hell or High Watermelon Wheat is firmly entrenched as 21A’s summer seasonal. I think I may stockpile a few six packs of Sneak Attack for the summer!

Have you tasted Sneak Attack?

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  1. I def. want to try this! Very cool photo of the label! I'm going to have to try that out.

  2. That is a nice photo. Could you possibly explain the technique and apps you're using to do it? Thanks.

  3. Thanks! My phone (iPhone 5) has a panorama feature. It's pretty slick and easy to use.


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