Beer Of The Week - ‘Sorachi Saison’ From Marks & Spencer

May 4, 2016 by Rich - Foodie Reviewer

Beer Of The Week - ‘Sorachi Saison’ From Marks & Spencer

I normally stick close to little independents, those small ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ type merchants, stocking everything from the weird to the wonderful. I’ve just returned from a weekend away in Amsterdam, and the beer scene over there is insane; every bar or pub just seemed to serve bloody good beer! As you’d expect, beers from Holland, Germany and Belgium are prominent. But, these guys have also embraced some fine ale from breweries in America, Australia even little old England. Saying that, little old England is big player in the world craft scene, so why shouldn’t the Europeans enjoy our beer? I’m sure some of the Belgian beer snobs would turn their nose up to a drop of ‘Weird Beard’ ‘Howling Hops’ or ‘Brew By Numbers’. All I’d say is, open your eyes, there’s a big bad world out there full of wonderful beer; get stuck in and just live a little! Anyway, back to the matter in hand; Beer of The Week.

As much as I like to support our independent merchants, we cannot ignore the high street. Pop in to any Sainsbury’s, Waitrose or Tesco etc, you’ll find some pretty good craft and local ale. However, on a recent trip to Marks & Spencer, I was pretty impressed with their line up. Their shelves were graced with everything from classic real ale, all the way to intensely hopped IPA’s, from craft brewing heavyweights such as Sierra Nevada and Four Pure.

But, what really caught my eye was their own brand beer. With beers such as black IPA, Battersea Rye and Double Hopped Citra IPA; I was getting excited, they sounded great. But, one real stand out here. The Sorachi Saison. The name of this beer refers to the hops used in the brewing process; Sorachi Ace. I know this style of beer pretty well. But I’ve only ever drunk it from American Brewers, in London craft beer bars. I’ve never seen it outside the hallowed walls of these specialist establishments. So, you can understand my excitement!

So, what is a Saison beer? Basically a Saison is a light bodied, crisp, dry beer and ideal for the summer months. But why only drink it in the summer? A Sasion is perfect all year round in my view. Once chilled down I opened this bad boy, and poured. It’s a light golden brew, with an unusual aroma. Fairly citrusy, fruity and a little ‘perfumy’. I took a large swig, as you have to when beer tasting, and straight away that ever recognisable Sorachi Ace hop flavour hits you. Spicy, peppery, oranges and lemons, this really is an interesting beer, and would be a great match with food. Maybe try it with a bit of roast chicken next time; I reckon it would be winner.

This is a great beer, and really stands out from the pack. In case you were wondering, M&S don’t have their own team of master brewers, busy working away creating interesting beers. They get established brewery’s to do this for them. Sorachi Saison is actually brewed by Adnams in Suffolk. This really surprised me, as most Adnams beer follows the classic British ale recipes; they’re traditionalists. But this beer is far from that; it’s a real serious player in the craft beer scene. So next time your picking up some new Y fronts in M&S, head on down to the food hall and grab a few crafty ones. These high street giants have certainly upped their game and are doing a sterling job bringing craft beer to the masses.


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