When my brother and I were little, we had a Casper the Friendly Ghost nightlight in our bedroom… nothing better to ward away a terrifying boogieman than a lit up, smiling goblin . It was almost as intimidating as the effeminate ghost adorning the label of Fantôme’s Saison… just look at those lashes. In fact, I think Casper and Fantôme’s ghost would make a great couple, though I’m not sure if that long distance relationship would work. There would also be a language barrier too seeing that she’s from Belgium. The relationship between those two may seem like a pipe dream, but let’s see if this ghostly saison works for me… time for them numbers.
Smell: Cantaloupe, honeydew melon, New York City air, funk, and orange juice. A really scattered smelling beer, but one that is intriguing for sure.
Taste: Tart and sour initially with massive kick of cantaloupe and melon. This is one strange saison… I get no traditional banana, bready, or yeasty characteristics that almost all saisons have, but instead I get fruit, sour, and a ton of mustiness. Reporting a smell of “New York City air” is new for me, but it tastes like there is some mild pollution in the beer – it’s not horrible, just strange, especially seeing that this brew is produced 5,000 miles away from Beijing. That might be by design and part of the funk, but it’s odd. After you get used to the first glass that off flavor vanishes and more tart and melon flavors spring from the brew. For having those sweeter flavors, the beer finishes extremely dry, which is typical of most saisons. The yeast has a funky, grassy character to it, but it works in this brew. I was surprised to find how thick this beer was though.
The mouthfeel was on the heavier side as the beer seemed to be pretty viscus, however it tasted light because of the fruity sourness. I’ve never had a heavy saison, so this offering from Fantôme continues to be a first for me (and one of contradictions). The ABV was also unique for the style at a whopping 8%, which would give some DIPAs a run for their money. The carbonation was lively and a lot of small bubbles pricked your tongue.
Overall: Upon drinking this, you can tell that this is was what a saison tasted like during feudal times in Europe. Funky, tart, a bit odd, somewhat muddled, but all part of the charm of what a saison is. The unpredictability and variance from brewery to brewery is what I love about saisons. I was surprised with how sour Fantôme’s was, and I was also taken back by the melon flavors. The strange funk threw me off, but it still earns a solid B+ from me. This is a beer that I think Casper would find too odd for his liking, even if he is a friendly ghost.