Saisons in the Sun

Posted on June 21, 2012


My daughter’s favourite food is spaghetti bolognese, her least favourite tomatoes. As a result the realisation that the tomato is kind of a big deal when it comes to ragu was met with the same horror as the year the ‘tooth fairy’ ruined the magic by drunkenly tripping over the rug and falling asleep on her bedroom floor whilst delivering her spoils.

Luckily years of mealtime cajoling (screaming) have convinced her it’s not the individual ingredients that matter in a recipe but the way they work together to deliver something delicious and she’s happily back in the bolognese band.

Never one to practice what I preach, there are some foods I hate and can’t be convinced to try no matter what you do to them. I do have a “foods I’d love to love list”, those foods others rave about and I reject, and have had some success in changing my palate. Baked beans – very filling, low in weight watchers point leaving more points for beer. Celery – uses more calories to eat than it contains leaving more calories for beer. Green Tea – boosts metabolism, aiding weight loss leaving more room for beer. There may be a theme emerging.

Despite these sterling efforts there remain some foods that I can’t see enough benefits in learning to love – namely rhubarb and fennel – which meant the thought of trying Siberia, a collaboration brew between Melissa Cole and Ilkley Brewery didn’t fill me with joy, it’s a…..Rhubarb (vomits) Saison.

Just occasionally I am a fool. If I had seen this on the shelf I would have taken one look at the R word and moved right on by, despite the really nice label. If I had that would have been a real shame because this beer is delicious. It showcases beautifully the artistry of brewing – knowing how to combine flavours to give the very best result. The rhubarb gives a tart, slightly sour finish that balances the beer perfectly and, dare I say it, is a very welcome addition.

Lesson learnt. Be brave, be fearless, throw your preconceptions to the wind and trust in the skill of the brewer. You might just discover something that blows your expectations out of the water and delivers a memorable beer. If you’re looking for something new this a definitely worth a try.

I’m right about the fennel though.

P.S. If more detailed tasting notes are your thing pop by Mr Avery – it’s only decent since I filched his picture.