Another variety pack from New York state, another reason to wonder why we organize our lives like we do in Canada. Saranac is the main brand of the Matt Brewing Company of Utica to the right of Syacuse about an hour and twenty minutes south then east from here. Last year I bought a mixed twelve of theirs and was diappointed by the focus on lagers - but no problem here. Look - a belgian white, a hefeweizen...a kölsch! Nutty. These guys are working hard for my dollar in the marketplace. I praised the Saranac IPA earlier this year and gave a bit of background that I won't repeat here. let's just get into the brews:
- Summer Ale: labelled as wheat with a little lemon and herb, this beer pours a clear amber with a white rim head. It has a light body, very little aroma to speak of. Its finish is a bit odd, a small bit of edge and a broad shadow of a lemon - not the sharp of lemon juice or the sweet of lemon drop. Oddly, when I had the second a few days later icy out of the fridge, it reminded me of 7up...in a good way.
- Hefeweizen: I am quite surprised by the quality of this beer. Not as creamy a yeast strain as the other hefes I have recently tried but much truer than the other US version of the style from Rogue in that set and Harpoon's version tasted in April. It would be worth comparing to Paper City's Cabot Street. White fine rocky head over cloudy straw coloured beer. Quite pronounced clove over banana. Worthy yet the label says limited edition.
- Kölsch: a very light ale with low hop bite. Clean but uncomplex. The edge of the hops is nicely subtly ever present - a deft touch. White skim over light straw brew. I wonder if this is the Summer Ale without the lemon and herbs. I realize I am ignorant of this style so really have a hard time knowing where this sits in the range - but I thought I would find a wee bit more malt.
- Belgian White: Not a bad attempt. Better than the confused Sam Adams White and definitely above the foul lolly-poppish Brussels White. White skim over cloudy light amber beer. Light almost watery ale with some honest grain and tangy spice. Some orange peel in the nose and on the palate.
- Mountain Ale: the beer formerly known as Mountain Berry Ale. This is getting repetitive. I think it is the Kölsh without the lemon and herb of the Summer Ale with generic berry syrup added instead. The sweet of the berry clashes with the herbs and the yeast. I am thinking of a thinner Belhaven Fruit Beer and that is not a good thought.
- Golden Lager: Again, very light and it is a lager so I am not expecting to find love - but this is working for me. It has a very good balance - which it good work when we are talking light. Starting with the bottom - the yeast is creamy and delicate. Right above it there is a slim edge which is a little bit like rye. Across the middle of the tongue there is graininess and in the front a bit of sweet. A nice clean flowery attractive hint of hops in the nose. A very likeable light lager.