A beer, like pop music, is never really a finished product, even after it has been released to and enjoyed by the masses. If a brewer decides to tweak the hop bill or use a different malt, he or she can toy with these elements while still keeping the essence of the beer, the same way that a producer or DJ can release remixes of a the latest chart-topper.
Brian Strumke, the man behind Stillwater Artisanal Ales, is open to taking a fresh look at his most established brands: He has made “Amazonian Remixes” of Cellar Door and Stateside saisons, adding tropical Brazilian fruits; Lower Dens, a saison inspired by the music of the Baltimore band Lower Dens, also was released in a “Remastered” version with brettanomyces added.
This spring, Strumke is taking aim at Stateside Saison, one of his first beers, with a new “2017 Remastered” edition. It’s dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Simcoe, and has an attractive new retro can design to boot.
This is still one of the better saisons around, shot through with lemon grass, floral notes, citrus and a touch of honey. There’s a noticeably earthy, grassy funk and bitterness to the finish that I don’t remember from the previous version, with extra tartness and sweet fruit.
The can looks like it was designed for summer cookouts, but Stateside isn’t quite a beach beer — while delicious and refreshing, it’s a little heavy, and at 6.8 percent alcohol by volume, a bit stronger than most beers designed to be crushed in the sun.
Stillwater Stateside Saison. stillwater-artisanal.com. About $10 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans.
If you like this, try another hoppy saison:
3 Stars Citra Lemon Saison . Slightly tart and loaded with lemon, this D.C. saison finishes with a dry bitterness.
Boulevard Tank 7 . Boulevard’s flagship saison is full of spice and bright citrus, with a crisp, earthy hoppy character.
Prairie Standard . A light, easy-drinking farmhouse ale from Oklahoma. Like Stateside, it’s dry-hopped with New Zealand hops — in this case, Motueka.