Review: Saison de Wench, Bison Brewing

Saison de Wench
Bison Brewing Co. — Berkeley, CA

  • Style:  Saison
  • Bitterness:  20 IBU
  • ABV:  6.0%
  • Malts:  2-Row, Carapils, Wheat, Munich
  • Hops:  Sterling
  • Special Ingredients:  Roses, hibiscus, lemongrass
  • Other:  All ingredients 100% USDA certified organic
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle (provided by brewery)

Description:  A rose by any other name, Saison de Wench is a botanically-inspired tribute to our beloved Beer Wench. Using Bison’s gold medal-winning farmhouse ale recipe as the base, Saison de Wench has a bright floral nose with whimsical notes rose petals, sweet hay and fresh pepper. Refreshingly tart from the addition of hibiscus and lemongrass, Saison de Wench finishes dry with hints of earthy spice and farmhouse funk. — Bison Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  Saison de Wench is Bison's spring seasonal. I first heard about it last year and was intrigued, as it showcases a trio of botanicals instead of hops. However, I was unable to get my hands on a bottle until now. I've noticed more breweries releasing saisons, and that's good thing. There's more to beer than just IPAs.

The tasting:  Golden orange in color, slightly hazy, with a white head that dissipates slowly. Lemongrass is prominent in aroma along with the unmistakable floral notes of rose. Taste starts with spicy white pepper and lemongrass. In the middle, toasted and bready malt flavors combine with lightly tart hibiscus. The flavor of rose surprisingly registers in taste as well. Hop bitterness is low throughout and alcohol is not noticeable in aroma or flavor. Saison de Wench is light to medium bodied, has a soft effervescent mouth feel, and finishes slightly tart with notes of lemongrass.

4 star.  Really Good.  I want this again!  This is a wonderful twist on the saison, with the botanicals being the star of the show. While lemongrass, hibiscus, and rose may sound like they belong in a bar of fancy soap, the three manage to retain their distinctive flavors, without being muddled or overly perfumey. Overall, it's a very well balanced and highly drinkable beer. Whether you're a fan of saisons, or new to the style, I highly recommend you give Saison de Wench a try! Unfortunately, you'll need to wait until next spring. It'll be worth the wait...

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  1. Sanjay,

    Thank you for this great review of Saison de Wench! And your photos are absolutely stunning! You rock!


    Organic Dan
    Brewmaster & Owner, Bison Brewing

  2. Dan, thanks for a unique beer. These pictures happen to be two of my favorites. Much credit goes to the cloudy Portland weather that provided the perfect lighting. Cheers!


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