Tuesday, January 1, 2013
January 1: Trevor's CynicAle New Year
It makes complete sense to drink Saisons in January, in Minnesota....doesn't it?! Skeptical? I understand. Karl's proposition struck me as odd too, until I remembered that he lives in Malibu, and only occasionally needs to wear "real pants" for reasons other than workplace appropriateness. Thankfully, the good people at Surly have an equally warped sense of reality, and offer their aptly named CynicAle Saison for Winter imbibing. So, as I sit inside while the less fortunate freeze the tips of their noses off in "awesome" tents on frozen lakes, drinking a Saison in January doesn't seem so strange.
To make things even more interesting, CynicAle comes in a can. I don't have a problem with this, so long as the can is immediately discarded after pouring the beer into appropriate glassware (see above), and forgotten about in short order.
It's evident right away that this is not your "typical" Saison. The color is golden, with a decidedly amber hue in place of the highlighter yellow of it's Belgian fore-bearers. A nice two finger head fades but moderately fast, leaving some slow moving lace behind. The nose is all honey and jam, as in apricots and peaches, but the barnyard funk is glaringly absent, replaced instead by a suspicious boozy smell. Odd, since this beer weighs in at only 6.7%.
At first sip, the beer is surprisingly balanced. The sweetness is hardly cloying, and backs off quickly. Thankfully, the slightly boozy smell hasn't carried over to the taste, which is all shortbread and honey jam, with a bit of white pepper completing the profile. Absent again is any barnyard funk, but it isn't missed. The effervescence is inescapable, with a tingly feeling that soon gives way to a chewy texture that is quite pleasant.
The good people at Surly have done all frozen Northerners a great service by creating this unexpectedly impressive ale. Should I ever find myself trapped on a sheet of ice, staring into a dark hole, I'd be happy to have a few cans of CynicAle to keep my spirits up.