So, Cattail Ale from Lakefront Brewery… this is an interesting one, because I was under the impression that it was a totally different style than the Brewery itself suggests. And that’s weird because I rather quite like it as the misunderstood style.
First, here’s what Lakefront says:
This recipe is a true craft ale brewed with only water, yeast, hops and malted barley.
A Wisconsin style mild ale with a vibrant golden amber hue, a refreshing body, and a sweet, malty aroma.
Perfect for summer, but delicious any time!
All good, right? Even BeerAdvocate says it’s an "English Pale Mild Ale."
Here’s the thing… I totally thought it was a Belgian style ale. Like a Saison. That was based purely on my tasting of the beer, without knowing really anything about it. (My notes below reflect this.) So… what does that mean?
Nothing! It means I liked this beer and I’d drink it again. There’s been some rumbling lately on the blogs about over-analyzing and over-categorizing beers (which I’ve been as guilty of as anybody), so rather than make a big deal about it, I’m just going to go with the sane, logical message to come out of it all: If the beer’s good, then just enjoy it and drink more.
Appearance: Pale golden color, slightly hazy, slightly orange. Head is off-white, one finger’s worth and abated quickly.
Smell: Wheaty with a sour—pleasantly sour—note; reminds me of Belgian funk in a good way. Is this a Saison?
Taste: Saison-y and peppery-spicy, a pleasant surprise since I didn’t know this was supposed to be in the Belgian style. A bit of sour, a bit of crisp wheat, and a hint of raw bread dough. Lemongrass, spices… maybe coriander, maybe cardamom.
Mouthfeel: Crisp, on the light side, but with a nice edgy bite from the spiciness.
Overall: What a pleasant surprise… this is a well-done Belgian [Saison] and is enjoyable to drink.
On BeerAdvocate, this only scores a grade of C+. On RateBeer, they’re even less kind, scoring it 2.66 out of 5 and it’s only in their 22nd percentile. And it seems that the reviews are a bit schizophrenic, as well… I still like this beer, but I have to wonder if it’s consistent from batch to batch?