Nick Carr on September 8, 2015 0 Comments ALE TALE: Quick Characteristics Brewery: New Belgium Brewing Company Location: Fort Collins, CO Style: Saison ABV: 6.2% IBU: 20 Appearance: Clear pale gold with fizzy, clean white head Aroma: Restrained aromas; Spiciness appears alongside a little Belgian funk; Pineapple fruity esters and whispers of citrus; Subtle breadiness; Flavor: Tastes like a subtle Saison; Belgian funk and spice are prominent; Fruity notes of Pineapple & Banana; Hops: Target, Chinook & Nelson Sauvin Malts: Pale, Munich & Rye Suggested Glass: Tulip, Snifter or Large Wine Glass Serving Temp: 45°F—50°F Availability: Fall Seasonal Pairs With: Roasted chicken; Arugula & mustard green salad topped with spicy sausage; soft goat cheese; pineapple crumble Grandpa had told the story years ago when Larry was only a child. At the time, he and the other children had sat wide-eyed, as children will, at the magic of the story. He’d loved it, ate it up, asking a thousand questions. Gramps had an answer for every one of them. Larry remembered how he would sit out on the old wooden porch, his favorite rocker gently keeping a beat to the telling, squeaking across that one loose board, face half veiled behind the smoke from his tobacco pipe. The sweet smell of tobacco would fill the air, the board would squeak… squeak.. squeak, and his gravely deep voice would tell of the ancient farmhouse table. The one that was magic. Later Larry moved away. Grew up. Forgot the story, or maybe didn’t forget the story, but he forgot to believe in the magic. There was less and less awe when he remembered the tale later on. Each time something brought the story to his mind it became a little more shaded, a little more of the magic sucked out, until finally the bustle and drive of life in the real world, in a big metropolitan city, left the memory a pleasant but hallow shell. That is until September 8th of last year, when a family reunion brought him back to the small quietness of the farm. Gramps had died the year before and Gran wanted one last big shindig before it was her turn. She always said she would know when her time was come. Larry arrived on a Friday afternoon. He drove up the long dirt drive, grown seemingly shorter than when he was young. Everything was as he remembered. The small orchard and barn. The smell of Fall somehow perpetual in this place. The sun was low, turning the pale yellow house a brighter lemony color. He was greeted and doted upon by Gran. She was much as he remembered. The intervening years had worked little harm to her it seemed, as if Time had decided there was nothing left to do, but wait her out. She smiled the same wrinkled smile and ushered him into the kitchen. They talked about life and changes and other things brought back by a depth of time. At some point she bid him set the table and, carefully carrying her special china, he turned to the dining room. He saw the table. It was exactly has he remembered it. Roughhewn oak boards, squared and blackened with age. Planked benches on the long sides and short chairs of the same oak on either end. A rustic farm table. It was the only furniture in the room. He glanced back toward the kitchen, off balanced by memory details, once lost, now returned and fit back to place like a puzzle. “Are we gonna have enough seats in here Gran?” She laughed lightly. “Just set some places out. We can set the rest as people show.” Other family members began to trickle in and Larry found himself being passed from person to person, each wanting to know what he’d made of his life. When he was finally able to break away he hurried in hopping to get a seat toward the wall. He passed the kids table on the way in, nieces and nephews eating, yelling, and talking. He jerked to a stop when he saw the adult table, the old farmhouse table. It was longer than it had been! Like Gramps had always said. His eyes bulged slightly and he grabbed the wall. Everyone at the table looked up. “Why what’s the matter Larry?” “The…the table. The magic…. It’s longer!” “Of course it’s longer dear. Why you’ve heard the story from Gramps hundreds of times. The table grows to accommodate family.” “Now, come and sit.” Gran got up moved her end chair back and set a plate down next uncle John’s. Uncle John patted the bench and looked expectantly at Larry. A creaking grown issued from the table timbers and… the table grew, lengthening perfectly to accommodating the set place. A wooden chalice grew out of the wood just above the plate. “Would you like some of Gramps’ family saison? You’re old enough now.” Tasting Notes: Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking New Belgium’s Long Table Farmhouse Ale. Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Long Table pours a very clear pale gold, just slightly darker than the color of lemons. A very fizzy, small bubbled, clean white head forms to about the width of a single finger. It drops but stays active, building some nice lacing on the glass, while thinning down to an eighth-inch sheeting of the surface. Carbonation is active, rising off the bottom with frenzied exuberance. Even sitting on the porch here I can hear the fizzing –put your ear close and it sounds like radio static. It is restrained in its presentation of aromas. Spiciness, along with a little Belgian funk are the most noticeable. Some mineral notes, which contribute nicely to the spice. Fruity esters mostly of pineapple. Slight whispers of citrus, but pretty low key. Very subtle background of breadiness. Mouthfeel and Taste: It brings a medium body, and a smooth-turned-tangy mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Very little warming and only slight hop presence. Taste, like the aroma, carries all the signs of a saison, but at a low very subtle level. It is sweeter than expected, but pleasantly sweet, not overly so. The funk and spice are there, delicate as the rest of it. Fruitiness comes through as pineapple and maybe low banana. Hops remain shadowed. There is a little herbal bitterness going into the swallow, nicely controlled, with the aftertaste bringing a combination of light bitter, spice, and doughy bread. Finishing Thoughts This is a subtle saison and would work well as a more sessionable example of the style, mostly because of the delicateness of flavor. In many cases I can only handle one or two bottles of saison because of the exaggerated flavors and tartness found in some of them. Here much of the tartness seems to have been traded for a herbal signature. An attribute that works in its favor as a Fall seasonal. It would easily accompany most foods and I could see it fitting right in to many fall celebrations; under a starry night sky, in the backyard watching leaves slowly shift from greens to golds and reds, or around a long table with room to accommodate all. Cheers!