February 12th, 2009 | by Adrienne So News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

WW Valentine's Day Review: Beer + Champagne = No Fun

saisonSaying, as Pelican Brewery does, that one is making a Valentine's Day brew that will have “the rich taste of spectacular beer, but with the carbonation (and pop!) of champagne” presupposes that we found anything objectionable about beer or champagne by themselves. I do not. Slopping champagne merrily around on New Year's Eve and sipping a Belgian wheat on a sunny porch are totally different but enjoyable experiences on their own. But Pelican apparently doesn't agree, as a recently arrived bottle of Saison du Pelican Belgian-style ale showed.

Carbonation may be necessary to maintain the champagne's crisp tang, but when drinking a beer, it's just annoying. After popping the cork off—okay, that part was fun—I poured the chilled beverage into my mini pint glass and waited for the foam to die down. Then I waited longer. And a little longer before I could take a sip.

The liquid itself is a beautiful, opaque light caramel color, and the flavor is smooth and sweet. But any complexity is totally disguised by the acidity of the carbonation. That's beside the fact that wheat beer should be soft and light. A sharp and fizzy wheat beer is an incongruous experience, much like snuggling into your terry bathrobe to discover that it's been lined with tons of sandy seashells. I imagine that an IPA or something similarly bitter would be great if super-carbonated. But it would be hard to find suitably romantic food pairings, unless your Valentine's dinner includes hearty helpings of buffalo wings.

My recommendation: Some things are never meant to be combined. (Although some people disagree: the Saison won a gold medal at the 2008 North American Beer Awards.)
 
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