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Brewers Roots Series: Red Lotus - Beerfarm

Brewers Roots Series: Red Lotus

'Tis the Saison! Red Lotus is the next chapter in our Brewers Roots Series and is our version of one of the great classic beer styles, the Saison. French for season, the Saison was one of the first beer styles brewed here at Beerfarm.

Also known as a farmhouse ale, Saison's were designed to refresh and after a hard day's work on the farm, we couldn't agree more. Red Lotus combines the funky and fruity esters typical of a Saison, paired with a biscuity, malt backbone.

Giving off deep candied citrus and bubblegum characters thanks to the experimental Lotus hop addition, this is a beer that's best enjoyed with mates in front of a deep red South Western sunset.

Red Lotus is the brainchild of our Brewer Kalle, who recently had a chat with us about this super limited release beer and his unconditional love for the style itself.

What makes a Saison, a Saison?

A Saison is actually a style that eludes easy definition. Though it is agreed to be of Belgian origin, brewed in the winter months to quench the thirsts of farm workers in the summer, the saison was one of many styles taken from the past and revamped, fiddled with, and explored by modern brewers. Generally when you get a Saison you can expect a highly carbonated dry beer with fruity ester characters and a bit of spice from characteristic yeasts.

What's so great about this particular beer and the style overall? 

The thing that's so fun about Saisons is that they can vary wildly. One rich and complex, with addition of fruits, herbs, and spices galore. Another remarkably simple; letting the yeast do the talking while asking malt and hops to take a backseat. We wanted to mix these two approaches! By aiming for a beer that can refresh the same way a classic lager does with waves of additional character from a solid malt backbone and a dry hop using the very tasty Lotus.

What flavours or characters does the Lotus hop addition provide? 

The Lotus hop is an experimental hop that is quite unlike any that I've ever experienced. Several of us here at the farm had different reactions following a big old sniff, comments included Vanilla, Melon, Mint, and Orange. Personally I believe most prominently it provides orange with waves of vanilla, which compliments the candied aromatics of the saison yeast and the sweetness and caramel notes from the malt.

Is there anything noteworthy that you enjoyed or found interesting around the brewing process of this beer? 

From drafting and tweaking the recipe to adding the Lotus dry hop and tasting the finished product in our Brite tank brewing the Red Lotus was a blast. My main challenge in hindsight was getting a colour I was happy with, from trying to balance the malt bill to incrementally adding black malt to the lauter tun (Making a true red is remarkably tough, finding the sweet spot between amber and brown is an unforgiving venture!).

While I do feel like ultimately it didn't quite reach the deep crimson of my dreams, I find it a beautiful colour none the less and the malt character comes in swinging.

Would you say that Saisons are for an acquired tastebud and why/why not?

There are many who shun the noble Saison, and those many are missing out! Ultimately it's a different style than people expect or are used to chasing, for a Belgian beer it's often very dry and lacks the complex bite that can be found in it's heavier cousins.

Similarly it's not likely to be the first choice as a refresher when lager or sessionable ale is available. However, those that have learned and grown to love the style swear by it for it's drinkability and yeast derived characters.

How would you describe Red Lotus to someone who's never had a Saison before?

It's a malty friend, with plenty of biscuit and caramel at it's core, but it's also got some fruity and spicy funk going on in there. If you look for it you'll be able to pick up bubblegum on the nose! If we give you the funk, you gonna take it?

How does Red Lotus stand out, in comparison to other Saison's out there?

We were trying to make a saison for the people, blending in more traditional flavours from the malt and dry hop to balance out the striking yeast profile. Ultimately we wanted the best of all worlds, and ended up with a banging trifecta that allows three of the four elements of beer to shine in harmony (Sorry water, maybe next time!). I've come to call it "Baby's first saison" on account of it's accessibility.

How do you think this beer should be best enjoyed?

In a schooner looking over the hills or the beach on a Friday afternoon, watching the sun go down with good friends and not worrying about a god damn thing.

Red Lotus is now available at Beerfarm, in Farm Club packs and will be coming to select venues around WA and NSW for a limited time only. 

For exclusive access to our limited releases and for the full Brewers Roots video, join our Farm Club community in 2022.

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