A Little Less Fire and Brimstone
A Review of the Preacher by LoneRider Brewing Co.
Posted on 3/27/2013 by Chops
                   
Decent
In America, it is all too common to get bombarded by the ''bigger is better'' mentality. In some ways it can be entertaining, in other ways tacky, and often times it's flat unnecessary. The same mentality can be applied to the beer world. Americanized versions of particular beer styles have done extremely well (see IPAs and stouts). American breweries have quickly learned how to appease the expanding hoards of ''bigger is better'' beer drinkers. But as always, there are some artisan lines that should never be crossed. Belgian saisons are the intricate delicate flowers of the beer world. They are very difficult to make right, and the breweries that do usually have lengthy histories and world-class reputations. This is why I was somewhat off-put by The Preacher, a Belgian-style saison by the LoneRider Brewing Company described as having ''an American twist''.

In the glass, this beer has a thick and muddy deep orange coloration. It comes with a frothy white head that has good retention. I was questioning this beer from the second it was placed in front of me. I would say that it looked like some other style, but it really didn't. Based on appearance alone, it really is its own thing. I could only shrug my shoulders and dive in for a whiff. On the nose, I found a potent candied orange citrus aroma with a sharp hop bite. Hiding underneath were some muted breads and a faint fruitiness. At this point my eyebrows scrunched together and my brain kicked into overdrive. Belgian IPA? No. French Pale Ale? No. Imperial Table Beer? No, maybe, hell, who knows. Shut up brain, there's beer to drink.

Strangely enough, that candied orange citrus translated into a primary flavor note. I also found those muted breads and faint fruits from the aroma along with a noticeable alcohol burn. The hop profile was perhaps the most vexing aspect. This is an aggressively bitter saison, and just saying those words makes my head hurt. I know it's very American to bitter-up everything, but this is just beyond unnecessary. The resulting hop profile is way too distracting and it's really all I could think about during the session. I guess you could call this an imperial saison, but that's an oxymoron akin to jumbo shrimp. The mouthfeel is mid-bodied and decently smooth to start, but quickly transformed into a tart bitter finish that lingered for a very long time. This was the first saison I had ever come across that was an obligate sipper and difficult to get through.

Overall, I found The Preacher to be an unnecessarily amplified saison. I can understand what LoneRider was trying to accomplish with this beer, and to be fair, they did exactly what they set out to do. I just question the wisdom of doing it. Whenever anyone orders a saison, they assume certain levels of ease and accessibility which this beer simply does not have. But don't get me wrong, Preacher isn't a bad beer by any means. It's just not a good saison. I can't recommend it to any specific camp because I honestly don't know who would find it appealing. It's a complete dice roll for any drinker at any level. But at the same time, the worst you will get is a tasty beer, so drink up and enjoy.

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The Preacher by LoneRider Brewing Co.
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