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Chicagoist's Beer Of The Week: Pipeworks Brewing's Grapefruit Saison

By Staff in Food on Jun 5, 2015 4:10PM

(Photo by Seth Feldman)
Pipeworks brewery looks a bit like if Dr. Frankenstein's lab fell on top of the room of a deranged iconoclast. They're about as DIY punk rock, metal and glam as any brewery draping themselves in dark and satanic imagery, but with a ridiculous, hop-tinged grin. From the artwork to ingredients, like butterfly pea shoots or evaporated vanilla, they don't do things the easy way. And I love them for that.

Now halfway through their third year they rarely brew the same beer twice, do all their own distribution, brew innovative experiments and they've got very little ego about it.

Recently they released their own spin on one of the latest beer trends - radlers. Traditional radlers are essentially beer and grapefruit soda, blended together into a summery low-ABV concoction.

Unlike most traditional radlers, Grapefruit Saison isn't low-ABV (it's 7% ABV) and it contains no soda. Instead, this cloudy orange potion relies on actual grapefruit juice married to the seasonal delights of a saison (the word Saison means seasonal in French).

Saison is an enigmatic style descended from the beers made for seasonal farm workers in Belgium. Saisons lean toward fruity and spicy notes, with hints of the grain and even whiffs of hay notes in some examples.

Pipeworks Grapefruit Saison uses a traditional Belgian saison yeast to bring out flavors that compliment grapefruit, namely peppercorns, tropical fruit and subtle hints of cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla. This underlies a tingly, almost acidic grapefruit intensity that starts with the nose and lasts through the finish, with those spices and fruit flavors rounding out the middle palate. It all ends remarkably refreshing and easy drinking for a beer that comes in at 7% alcohol.

Pipeworks maintains a list of fine establishments selling their bottles at their website and recommends calling first to make sure the beer you want is still on the shelf.

This month we are featuring four guest writers for our Beer Of The Week. Today's comes from Seth Feldman of The Boozy Beggar