Craft Beer: Stillwater Artisanal the best thing to come out of Baltimore since The Wire

Stillwater Artisanal's Stateside Saison is billed as an American farmhouse ale and takes its inspiration from the classic Belgian style
Paul McConville

QUITE a few TV shows from this side of the Atlantic have crossed the pond with mixed results. Remakes of Fawlty Towers fell flat on their face and did you know they even had a stab at an American version of Ballykissangel? Needless to say it didn't end well.

US takes on The Office and House of Cards have fared much better and when it comes to brewing, many American beer makers have been having a good go at bringing some European styles to the Land of the Free, with their own unique twists.

Stillwater Artisanal is a gypsy brewery which means they don't have a brewery to call their own but create their own beers in existing facilities. Originally out of Baltimore, Stillwater Artisanal is probably the best thing to come out of that city since The Wire. Now they are putting a new world slant on some old world styles in downtown Brooklyn.

Their Stateside Saison is an excellent example of this approach. Billed as an American farmhouse (or should that be barnyard?) ale, it takes its inspiration from the classic Belgian style.

It comes in an imposing pint can and pours a golden colour with a sudsy white head. It has a decent amount of haze going on and there are funky and fruit aromas.

The carbonation is quite fine, contributing to a tingly mouthfeel. They've used European malts, which slightly give it a slightly breads base, but the hops are new world – New Zealand and US. They give it a fruitier taste than you'd expect from a European saison but the classic farmhouse yeast used gives it that distinctive tang and hint of spice that the style is famed for, and it harks back to the stronger tradition of a saison at 6.8 per cent.

The Cloud is billed as an international IPA and they delight in announcing the addition of “an absurd amount of new German hops.” As the name suggests, it's quite hazy and pours an amber colour. The haze comes from the addition of oats and lactose to malt and they've paired those Teutonic hops with Mosaic, Citra and Amarillo.

That all adds up to a pretty juicy number, but it takes a while to get there. The first gulp is like sinking your teeth into a wedge of grapefruit, but once you get past that, there's a lot of tropical and stone fruit flavours going in. It's bordering on double IPA at 7 per cent and comes in an eye-catching pint can.

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