Cheers to the Fallen
A Review of Matt's Burning Rosids by Stone Brewing Co.
Posted on 8/29/2014 by Chops
                   
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Good beer can assume many roles. It can be a social lubricant. It can be a relaxation companion. It can be the fruit of a collaboration or the essence of a fundraiser. It can also be a touching tribute. I recently came across a beer called Matt's Burning Rosids. This is an Imperial Cherrywood Smoked Saison from the Stone Brewing Company. That sentence alone was enough to ignore anything else on tap line. As the bartender was fetching my frosty pint, I did what I always do when ordering a new brew: I looked up some more info. By the time the bartender returned, my chipper mood had become a little more somber.

I discovered that Matt's Burning Rosids is a tribute beer brewed to honor Matt Courtright, a passionate young brewer at Stone. His life was cut tragically short by a freak accident at the brewery. It devastated the Stone family and marked the darkest day in their history. After much contemplation, the decision was made to honor Matt in the best way they knew how: brew a great beer in his name. Matt was working a recipe for an Imperial Cherrywood Smoked Saison with fellow brewer Brian Bishop shortly before his passing. It seemed only natural to usher the beer to its conclusion.

So there I sat, staring at a frosty pint of Matt's Burning Rosids with its back story in my head. I took a few moments to appreciate how grateful I was to be sitting there with a truly unique creation, the last from a talented and passionate brewer. I offered a silent cheers and decided to honor Matt in the best way I knew how: by writing this review.

In the glass, this beer had a warm and hazy golden coloration. It came with a frothy white head that had great retention. On the nose, I found a wild conglomeration of aromas that included earthy woody malts, candy sugar, lemony citrus, sweet bread, a big spicy punch, a potent alcohol nip, plus a light and pleasant smokey character. To be perfectly honest, the aroma was so disjointed that I had not the faintest idea on how to make sense of it all. Stone is well known for their fiercely unapologetic creations and Matt's Burning Rosids was no different. I had to abandon any meaningful dialog on the Saison style. Like with most Stone concoctions, I could only strap in and enjoy the ride.

Wow, this beer was a sensory overload (in a really cool way). It had a big menacing body and felt prickly on the palate. The hop profile was very assertive and equally bitter, which effectively counterbalance the charred smokey character and sour fruity notes. The flavor was, in a word: unhinged. Smoke, sugar, citrus, wood, bread, spice, all strong and vying for attention. The finish was aggressively dry with a long lasting tart smokey aftertaste. Coupled with a tenacious alcohol burn, this was a massive palate whammy that took a while to get used to. Needless to say, this beer was an obligate sipper that warranted a lengthy session. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this beer was a lingering campfire note that was always present between sips. It was so ubiquitous that I even tasted it after I returned home.

Overall, I found Matt's Burning Rosids to be a wholly unique and delicious creation. I can honestly say that I have never experienced a beer quite like this one before. Calling it a Saison is somewhat of a formality. It willfully borrows from an array of styles and marries them in a way that I have never seen before. I greatly enjoyed the experience and salute the talent in crafting it. This was a memorable beer, which of course is the entire point. Cheers, Matt.

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Matt's Burning Rosids by Stone Brewing Co.
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