N.W. Beer GuideComment

Beer Release: NW: Get It Now … 21st Amendment Sneak Attack Farmhouse-style Saison

N.W. Beer GuideComment

image courtesy 21st Amendment Brewery With the weather floating above 40 degrees it’s easy to get caught up in what to wear. Do you go with the zip-up hoodie, the sport jacket, or something from the nearby REI? And if life wasn’t more complicated, you’ve got to decide if the weather on the way home is too warm for a fleece jacket or not enough. It’s enough to make someone go insane. But we’re Northwestern’ers so we cope with the bi-polar weather.

The reward for our decision, good or bad, is a well-earned beer. Sometimes dark but one that provides a fair amount of artificial warmth.

Which is why we are happy to announce the arrival of a newly canned alternative from San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewing.

Known for their iconic can’s featuring America’s famous figures, the brewery is happy to announce their latest release in Sneak Attack Saison.

21st Amendment’s thoughts on Sneak Attack Farmhouse-style Saison

Sneak Attack is 21st Amendment’s newest seasonal offering, a Belgian-style Saison, dry hopped with whole, organic cardamom pods lending it a very dry, but not overly bitter finish. It features aromas of pepper, cardamom, lemon rind and freshly cut grassy fields. Its refreshing flavor is derived from pilsner malt, Belgian Light Candi Sugar and a traditional spicy Belgian Saison yeast.

Co-founder and Brewmaster Shaun O’Sullivan says, “While this is the time of year when brewers are typically introducing strong, heavy beers, we wanted to brew up a bit of a surprising alternative that essentially says, ‘in your face, winter!’ At 6.2% ABV with 38 IBUs, it drinks light and refreshing but really has some heat behind what is seemingly a tame beer.”

Many of you might be questioning the timing of this beer, given the month on the calendar. Fact is we could use a little ‘shaking up’ now and then. It’s these odd, sometimes chaotic, moments, that make life interesting. It’s worth noting that Bitter American Pale Ale is going away this year (2013). This doesn’t mean BA is gone. Instead Sneak Attack) replaces it (Bitter American) as the Winter Seasonal.

Ok genius, what’s up with the name and why should I drink a light colored beer in January?

Co-founder Nico Freccia added, “You might not expect a Saison in winter any more than the enemy expected Washington to cross the icy Delaware. But winter needs an antidote. With a boatload of bravado, we’re doing our part to bring summer to winter. And Sneak Attack pairs perfectly with the rich and warming foods of winter: Bouillabaisse, sausages, smoked meats, full flavored cheeses and anything spicy.”

Spicy? Here’s what Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan had to say about that.

It started as a homebrew recipe using fresh spicy, peppery greens from my garden. It was the heat of summer and you could actually smell the pepper in the greens as you walked by and I just thought it would be a perfect addition to a traditional Saison. – Nico Frecia

The style traditionally has a lot of spice notes that naturally occur from the Belgian yeast. Brewers have experimented with various ingredients, from dandelion to black pepper, to help complement those notes. We wanted to do something a little different that would draw out the natural esters in the yeast to really accentuate the aromas and flavor without overwhelming it. We did a bunch of experimentation and we found that the cardamom pod was just subtle enough and just different enough that it really helped make a balanced, but complex, beer. –Shaun O’Sullivan

To me the cardamom brought out the lemon rind and fresh cut hay aromas that were already in there. And we wanted to brew a very dry style Saison so this paired perfectly. – Nico Frecia

Look for six packs and draft versions of Sneak Attack featured wherever you find Back in Black India Pale Ale or Hell or High Watermelon Wheat. As always if you can’t find it where you are, ask your server or grocer to buy some!


About 21st Amendment Brewery

Hey, we’re Nico & Shaun. We live for great beer. When we opened the 21st Amendment Brewpub in San Francisco in 2000, we vowed to do things differently. To us, the 21st Amendment means much more than just an end to Prohibition. It means the right to brew beer, the freedom to be innovative, and the obligation to have fun.