With the release of our new Oolong Saison in bottles and on draft, we sat down with our head brewer Layton Cutler and asked him a few questions about the inspiration behind this unique beer.
The Saison style hails from southern Belgium and France. Why did you guys decide to put Oolong tea in ours?
Layton: We were discussing doing a tea beer and oolong sounded like a good tea to use to complement the natural fruitiness of Saisons. Given our close proximity to Chinatown, it was easy to hop over to a tea shop and try some out before brewing with it.
What made you choose Oolong? Why not Black tea, or White Peach Dreams, or Passionfruit Mango Fields?
Oolong is pretty delicate and a bit earthy, so we thought it would be great to round out the saison flavor. We really like how it turned out.
What was the selection process like for finding the perfect tea to use?
The Ten Ren tea shop in Chinatown was really good to us. We used three types of oolong tea in this because we got to see and try out various oolong tea flavors and aromas. We chose the more oxidized black version, a less oxidized green version and finally the lightest and most floral aromatic of them is Pouchong. Each contributed to the complexities of this beer.
How does oxidation effect the tea and the beer?
The more oxidation at harvesting of the tea gives more color and bigger flavors but less aromas of the tea. Incorporating the various levels of the tea process would give a rounded oolong flavor, which we were looking for.
Why should someone try the Oolong Saison?
To enjoy a fun saison with some interesting tastes, of course!
What meal are you going to serve with the Oolong Saison?
Spicy noodles, pork ribs and bok choy are all a natural fit that could go well with this. But honestly, it’s pretty versatile – try it with anything and you’re bound to be pleased.