Monday, September 12, 2011

MY FIRST FANTÔME

I’ve certainly downed a few saisons in my day, but there’d always been a missing link & one I’d never sprung for nor tried: FANTÔME SAISON. Renown as one of Belgium’s great beers – at least in some quarters – FANTÔME SAISON’s one of those big-bottle farmhouse beers that costs a few coins but gets raves from just about everyone who’s had it. I’d never seen it on draft, and never put my coins together for a bottle – until now. Beer Advocate readers call it a straight-up “A”. And everyone knows that a crowd-sourced list of beer dorks, some trying good beer for the first time in their lives this month, can be counted on – right? Let’s find out.

FANTÔME SAISON evinced a “whoa, now that is earthy” reaction from me out of the gate. “Earthy” is a term that gets thrown around a bunch with regard to the saison, and most of us probably don’t even know what it means. Yet you know it when you taste it, am I correct? I actually hesitated for a second after two gulps and thought this might be infected – seriously. Took another minute to realize that no, it’s actually a great beer. Mildly sour, and bursting with grapefruit flavor – not the way an IPA does, mind you, but like a funky barnyard Belgian saison. It has a mildly soapy taste, but you’ll get used to it. Super robust and tangy and admittedly a bit of a chore; this extends to both the bottle cap and cork I had to get through to get it open and on to the drinking itself. This herbal, floral, super grapefruity beer is in face delicious, but not exactly a refreshment. More like a “project” that you’ll be happy to complete. 7.5/10.

2 comments:

Barleywhiner said...

We finally got Fantome here in KC within the last year. Before that, I'd always bring some back whenever I went to St. Louis. The Printemps was one of the best beers that I have had recently. Some spice, but restrained and tons of citrus. Their stuff is so unique.

Mark said...

I've only had this once, but I remember it being more tart and sour than you're describing. I've heard that these beers can be inconsistent, but only having had it once, I can't say for sure (though green bottles always kinda scare me).

I think your notion of it being a pleasant "project" beer is dead on though. I definitely need to try it again sometime...