Council Brewing started out strong when they opened last year, delivering a wide variety of beers to appeal to all sorts of craft beer drinkers. Since then they have done a few limited releases of beers in bottles starting with a sour saison then a barrel aged tripel then a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout then their tart saisons and finally yesterday they released Vienne, their first barrel aged french saison.
While I haven’t yet opened my barrel aged pirates breakfast imperial stout the barrel aged tripel they released last year was quite delicious. In the San Diego area the french farmhouse ale known as Biere de Garde is not widely produced. Lost Abbey bottles one that is available around town fairly regularly if you know where to look. Other versions are so limited that I did not know they existed. Stone brewed one sometime last year though I never heard about it.
Council’s release of their own Biere de Garde is part of the brewer’s participation in the trend of local breweries exploring styles that are only known to a smaller group of enthusiasts. I had not been aware of the Biere de Garde style until I read “The Brewmaster’s Table” earlier this year that describes the style under the section for French beers.
I stopped by the brewery yesterday to pick up my two bottles of Vienne. While I was there, I had a taster of this new brew and also tasted their Irish Stout that was put on a few weeks ago for St. Patrick’s Day. Sadly, the bottles of Vienne sold out so quickly that your only chance of tasting this beer will be to visit the brewery over the next day or two and hope that they still have it on tap, or to find someone willing to part with their bottle. The quick sale of this beer shows just how much demand there is in the local market for beers in this style.
Taste wise, I really enjoyed Vienne. The beer was lightly tart, showcasing some nice peach and stone fruit flavors. At other times it displayed a sweet caramel flavor that balanced the tartness nicely. The flavors were smoothed out by the oak quite well. I am looking forward to tasting this beer again when I open my bottles in a few months. The Irish Stout was also impressive, giving a good amount of roasty flavor for the low alcohol content. This is a nice alternative to the stronger Pirate’s Breakfast double oatmeal stout.
If you are a fan of Council’s tart saisons, now called Beatitude, keep an eye out for future small releases of the beers in bottles at the tasting room. Also keep an eye out on the brewery’s facebook page for announcements of future small batch bottle releases because the next one may end up selling out just as quickly as Vienne.