I’ve had this bottle of Odonata Saison in my fridge for a few weeks now, I had been planning on saving it for a nice warm day but it’s been rainy and then cold and I couldn’t wait any longer to try it. Saison’s are quickly becoming one of my favorite styles of beer so expect to see plenty more around here as the weather warms.
I don’t know much about Odonata except that they’re a fairly new brewery (their website says they started brewing in 2009). They don’t currently have a brewery of their own but partner with regional breweries to get their beer made and packaged. From what I’ve heard (second hand so take this with a grain of salt) this isn’t standard contract brewing, rather Odonata’s Peter Hoey goes into these breweries and brews the beer. The bottle I had said it was brewed and bottle for Odonata by Sudwerk Brewing in Davis, CA. Their website says they hope to open their own brewery in Sacramento this year. Odonata also has a “sister” winery, Odonata Wines based in Santa Cruz run by Peter Hoey’s brother Denis Hoey.
Saison is currently the only Odonata beer available here in San Diego. I bought this 22oz bottle at KNB Wine Cellars for $6.49. The bottle had “002” etched into the label so I’m assuming it was from batch 2. I’ve since seen some newer bottles with a branded bottle cap (mine had a blank cap) at local stores which I’m assuming is a new batch. This is what Odonata says about their saison on their website:
Our Saison is made with malted barley, lots of wheat, rolled oats, Styrian & East Kent Golding hops and a yeast strain that combines the best of wine & beer fermentation.
Since it’s bottle conditioned I poured it carefully from the bottle, leaving the last half inch or so in the bottle to avoid pouring the yeast into my glass. It was fairly light pale yellow straw color, perfectly clear with a fluffy white head that didn’t start to disappear until I started drinking it.
The smell was characteristic saison yeast. Slightly sweet, slightly spicy and a bit earthy. The taste is much the same. It starts out sweet, I’m not sure if that is the wheat or solely the yeast causing the sweetness. There is a decidedly spiced taste to the beer as well. I’m unsure of whether Odonata adds any spices (they don’t list any on their website, but many saisons use black pepper, grains of paradise or others to give a bit of spice) but it’s likely the spice in here could be entirely from the yeast and hops. There isn’t much bitterness to the beer which lets these other flavors really stand out. As it warms a bit of a banana flavor (not unlike a Hefeweizen) comes out as well. I think I prefer it on the cold side, but it still tastes great and is easy to drink as it warms up.
Photo: Kinsee Morlan