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Chicagoist's Beer Of The Week: Off Color's Prairie Dog Attack

By Jason Baldacci in Food on Nov 15, 2013 8:25PM

2013_11_15_prairie_dog_attack.jpgCollaboration beers have become increasingly popular in recent years. Two breweries will craft a recipe and make a beer that they hope captures both of their brewing styles while successfully mashing them together to make something great. Sometimes these beers do only a satisfactory job of that and sometimes they knock it out of the park. This week's pick is a collaborative beer that highlights the best of the two breweries involved.

Prairie Dog Attack is a Belgian-Style saison brewed by the guys at Off Color Brewing in collaboration with Chase Healey, brewmaster of Prairie Artisan Ales of Tulsa, Okla. during a recent visit to Chicago. The beer pours a nice, hazy golden color in the glass, with big notes of tangy sourdough bread and lemon on the nose. On the palate, we pick up classic saison notes of white pepper and lemon zest along with a vibrant acidity and active carbonation that make this beer crisp, refreshing and very complex. According to their website, Off Color also spiked the beer with a little wild bacteria, which would explain the musty cellared quality that lingers on the finish. At 6.5 percent alcohol content, Prairie Dog Attack is a fantastic take on a classic Belgian style that would pair with all kinds of different foods.

Saisons are the traditional farmhouse ales of southern Belgium and the style is a pretty vast one. Most saisons we see are blonde or golden in color but there are plenty of darker versions out there if you look for them. Alcohols typically range from 5 to 8 percent but there are a handful of lighter and heavier options. Many saisons usually come with incredibly spritzy carbonation. Many brewers will ferment these beers at higher temperatures than others, resulting in very spicy and pronounced yeast notes. We've seen more and more American brewers tackle this style over the past few years but very few do the traditional benchmarks justice, which is why we were very pleased with Prairie Dog Attack. If you ask us, this beer stands up to its Belgian counterparts without a problem. If we would have blind tasted it we might have even guessed it was produced in Europe.

Prairie Dog Attack is only available on draft and in a handful of places, so be sure to check to see who's pouring it in your neighborhood.