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While we’ve been looking at beer clubs for a while, we’ve long been intrigued by The Rare Beer Club, originally founded by the famed Michael Jackson (the beer writer, not the performer). We talked to the beer lovers who run this club and they’ve agreed to send us over a sample so that we can let you all know how it is. They don’t skimp on these beers and we’re happy to tell you all about them! Read on.

This month, The Rare Beer Club sends us not one, but two Saisons (for a look at the Saison style, check out our style profile, “For the Love of Saison”)! This is one of our favorite styles of beer, and perfect for the summer weather like we face in August.

You can order this club here: Join the Rare Beer Club

Brasserie de Cazeau Saison Cazeau

Brasserie de Cazeau has been around since at least 1753. During this time, one family has owned the brewery (with a 16 year exception) and they’ve lasted and brewed through wars and changes in consumer taste until 1969 when the pilsners took over the public preference. In 2004, the great-great-grandson of original brewer Jean-Baptiste Agache decided to restart operations with his cousin, Quentin Mariage. This is the fourth beer they’ve released and one that we’re stoked about, so check it out!

Brasserie de Cazeau Saison Cazeau

Saisons are expected to come out of the bottle a light, straw colored beer with a decent haze and Saison Cazeau does not disappoint! This one pours much the color of a thousand other Belgian wheat based beers and, as you probably see coming, has a big fluffy white head on top that eventually falls to form a thick and lingering meringue.

The smell here isn’t dominating but, that said, you can certainly smell it as soon as you open the bottle. And, while there are bits of the traditional yeasty spiciness from the Saison yeast, Brasserie de Cazeau mixed it up on this one with a bit of elderflower which you can definitely note! The brewmaster/owner, Laurent Agache, uses only elderflowers grown on a tree on the brewery’s property, which means this beer is only brewed during the three weeks every year when the tree is in bloom. Glad we got some! On top of the flowers, though, there’s also some citrus and a decently strong bit of lemon in the nose. This smells like a warm weather beer to us!

High carbonation and a nice, light, slightly floral flavor make this a super refreshing beer! The wheat helps it to finish bone dry while the elderflower makes it taste almost honey-like. It’s great cold but you get more and more of the elderflowers as it warms up. Besides honey and floral notes, the elderflowers have one last trick up their sleeves on this one...tartness. The beer is just barely tart on the back of the tongue, which increases as the beer lingers, adding an extra layer of complexity to this already delicious brew.

If you can get this one, we’d say to stock up at the beginning of summer as your friends are going to love it! Definitely a backyard, hot weather beer that, at 5% abv, you can drink all day long. Also, we’re going to go out on a limb and say that this would be the base of a mean cocktail (beertail?) as well!

Stillwater Artisanal Ales Stateside Saison

Stillwater Brewing is an early adopter of the “gypsy brewing” trend that we’ve seen in craft beer lately. Hopping from brewery to brewery, gypsy brewers rent space and time on the host brewers equipment and do all the work themselves. In many ways, it’s a business model that’s got all the benefits of contract brewing and owning your own brewery. Stateside Saison is one of the first beers that brewer Brian Strumke put out under the Stillwater label, a brand focused on Farmhouse Ales.

As opposed to the Saison Cazeau, Stillwater’s Stateside Saison pours a fairly amber/orange color...but it’s still got that haze that we look for in a Saison! An aggressive pour yields us an equally aggressive near-white head.

Stillwater Artisan Ales Stateside Saison

The smell on the Stateside Saison isn’t nearly as strong as with the last brew. A minerally, wheaty aroma is the first thing we pick up, which is followed by a light, yeasty scent. As it warms, you’ll note a bit of alcohol in there as well, which makes sense given the nearly 7% abv.

With a beer that has such a light smell, you’d expect a light taste. But, in this case, you’d be wrong! It’s light, dry and highly carbonated, but the yeast gives it some major flavor. Spice, clove, a bit of black pepper and and bit of orange rind assault your palate from front to back as soon as you sip it. There’s also a strong (but IPA-like) bitterness from the hops. There’s a lot going on here and we can’t help but to keep smelling it then tasting it...it’s almost like there’s two beers here: the one you smell and the one you taste. So strange!

You can order this club here: Join the Rare Beer Club