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Colorado’s Best Saisons Blind Tasting Presented by On Tap Credit Union

Colorado Blind Tasting Series Saisons
Brian Phipps

Back with another edition, in fact, the tenth edition(!), of our Blind Tasting Series. For this iteration, our Blind Tasting focused on trying to find the best Saisons made by Colorado breweries. Altogether, 16 beers from 16 Colorado breweries were submitted. In the end, two took home Honorable Mention awards, two scored Top Marks, and one was crowned Best In Show.

To start with, Saisons originate from Belgium’s Wallonia region and are meant to have a fruity-spicy flavor, with some tartness. Additionally, Saisons can vary in orange, golden, and amber colors. Similarly, the clarity of the beer can also vary. Finally, hop presence should be taken second to the fruit esters and tartness.

PorchDrinking’s Blind Tasting Series is proudly presented by On Tap Credit Union, providing banking solutions for Colorado, breweries and beer lovers alike. If you would like to see all of our previous Blind Tasting winners, please see the links at the end of the article.

On Tap Credit Union
The article was supported by On Tap Credit Union. Enjoy a $150 bonus when you sign up for a personal checking account with the promo code “PORCH

Additionally, the Saisons Blind Tasting is sponsored by Quirky HomeBrew Supply in Northglenn. Quirky is a friendly, one-stop shop for professional and home brewers with a wide variety of malts, hops, yeasts, and specialty grains. Furthermore, Quirky features more than just brewing products and tools. You can also find ingredients, tools, and kits to make your wine, cider, shandy, vinegar, kombucha, bread, cheese, and soda. It’s a great place for any novice or veteran crafter!

Quirky HomeBrew Supply
Quirky HomeBrew Supply has a wide variety of tools and ingredients for any level of brewer. Photo Credit: Tristan Chan
Quirky HomeBrew Supply
Be sure to check out the vast number of kits Quirky has to offer. Everything from beer to cheese to soda, you can learn how to make from a kit at Quirky. Photo Credit: Tristan Chan

PorchDrinking’s Blind Tasting Series

Starting in October of 2021, the Blind Tasting series is designed to find the best beers of styles made by Colorado breweries. By making the tasting blind, judges are removed from their preconceived notions and biases as well as unaffected by any marketing. Every brewery in Colorado is eligible to submit and over 250 were invited to enter if they had one. Altogether, 18 submissions were received.

Format

The Blind Tasting consists of three rounds:

Round 1

To kick things off, our eight judges are split into two groups of four. Each group tasted half of the beers, nine each. Beers were assigned a random number. After each beer, judges filled out a form rating the beer on a weighted scale for appearance, aroma, taste, and about the beer overall. The final question on the form asked each judge whether the beer should advance to the next round.

In order to advance, beers needed at least 75 percent of the group’s vote to move on or get a total score that is greater than one standard deviation from the mean of the group’s total score.

Of the 18 beers submitted, five saisons continued to the second round. All five of these beers are given at least an Honorable Mention award.

Round 2

In the next stage, all eight judges tried all five of the beers. Beers were given different numbers from the previous round. Unlike Round 1, judges were only asked if the beer should move on to the final round on a form.

For the beer to move on to the final round, a beer needed over 50 percent of the judges’ approval. Of the five beers, three moved onto Round 3. All three beers are given at least a Top Marks award.

Round 3

To find a winner, judges were given all three finalists. Beers were given different numbers from the previous rounds. After tasting all three beers, judges then debated out loud which beer(s) deserved Best In Show and Top Marks. Multiple beers are eligible to win Best In Show.

In the end, the judges awarded two beers Top Marks and one beer as Best In Show.

Judges

Colorado Saison Blind Tasting Judges
Photo Credit: Tristan Chan
  • Stephen Adams, Colorado Brewery List & Colorado Beer Geek
  • Shawnee Adelson, Executive Director for the Colorado Brewers Guild
  • Britt Antley, PorchDrinking Colorado Co-Editor
  • Ali Benetka, Integration Consultant at Doozy Solutions
  • John Frank, author of Beer Lover’s Colorado and Axios Denver Reporter
  • Scott Grossman, PorchDrinking Writer
  • Patrick Malone, known as “Brewery Masters,” along with his wife Ruth Malone are the first couple to visit every Colorado Brewery
  • Ryan Pachmayer, Beer Journalist & New Image Brewing

Results

Honorable Mentions

StrangeCraft Beer Co. (Denver, CO) | la patience saison (4.7% ABV)

Woods Boss Brewing Co. (Denver, CO) | Walking in Wonder (6.7% ABV)

Colorado Saison Blind Tasting Honorable Mentions
Photo Credit: Tristan Chan

Top Marks

Busey Brews (Nederland, CO) | The Ghost of Tank #2 (6.7% ABV)

Colorado Saison Blind Tasting - Top Marks - Busey Brews
Photo Credit: Tristan Chan

Excitingly, the family-owned and operated smokehouse from Nederland scored Top Marks in the Saisons Blind Tasting with their Ghost of Tank #2. Now, here are some of the notes judges left in the scoring sheets about this beer:

  • Delicious Saison! Beautiful look and it is very tasty.
  • Rich, round, sweet thread but still dry finishing. A pleasant full-body flavor.
  • Little tart nose, a very fruity flavor, some barnyard, a touch of sweetness, nice balancing spice.

Great Divide Brewing Co. (Denver, CO) | Colette (7.3% ABV)

Colorado Saison Blind Tasting - Top Marks - Great Divide
Photo Credit: Tristan Chan

Perhaps the most well-known saison in Colorado, it’s no surprise this Centennial State favorite flourished in the Saisons Blind Tasting. Here are some of the judges’ tasting notes about Colette:

  • A beautiful unfiltered hazy appearance with a sustaining white rim on the head.
  • Beautiful spicy saison nose and a fabulous spicy finish.
  • Very enjoyable, easy drinking – This is what I think of in a clean saison.
  • Great balance and hits lots of key points of the style.

Best in Show

Cellar West Brewery (Lafayette, CO) | Farmhouse Saison (6.3% ABV)

Colorado Saison Blind Tasting - Best In Show - Cellar West
Photo Credit: Tristan Chan

Boulder County’s Cellar West takes our Best In Show for our Saisons Blind Tasting! Originating in Boulder but moving to Lafayette in 2018 due to a need for more space, their Farmhouse Saison sparked the judges’ taste buds as an extremely well-tasting saison. Here are some of the judges’ comments:

  • Lovely Saison! Very easy drinking!
  • Good blend of spice, yeast, esters with a pleasant dry finish.
  • Great representation of saison. Aroma and flavor are balanced and pleasant.
  • Tasty interpretation of the style. It’s a well-executed and enjoyable beer.

Congrats to Cellar West on winning Best In Show for PorchDrinking’s Saisons Blind Tasting!

On Tap Credit Union
The article was supported by On Tap Credit Union. Enjoy a $150 bonus when you sign up for a personal checking account with the promo code “PORCH

Coming Up in 2024!

Here’s what’s on tap for PorchDrinking’s Blind Tasting Series this year:

  • May 2024: Kölsch
  • August 2024: West Coast Pilsners
  • November 2024: Dark Lagers

Previous Blind Tasting Results


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