Brew Blog: St. Sebastiaan Golden Ale/Yeast Hoist #15

On Sunday, I took my kids to the movies.

I'm a cheapskate, so we drove all the way out Westheimer to the Wind Chimes discount cinema. It helped that the buck-fifty-apiece theater also happened to be the only theater still running the film my kids wanted to see. They never even knew the difference.

Since I was saving roughly 90 percent by going to a theater where you don't have to pay to park, I magnanimously agreed to tote one of their neighborhood friends along.

This has nothing to do with the beer I drank, except that the late-ish showtime (the movie let out at 8 p.m.) meant that we needed to feed our kids in a hurry. After dropping off the neighbor kid, we headed over to Whole Foods for a compartmentalized feast.

As the kids selected their respective soup and sushi, I meandered over to the beer. The ability to purchase and consume a bottle on premises always makes dinner at Whole Foods feel a little bit less like defeat.

I'd eyeballed Yeast Hoist several times before. As it is intended to do, the screen-printed comic label grabbed my attention again last night. I further rationalized that the flip-top closure meant that I could enjoy half of the beer with our quick dinner, then bring the rest home for later.

Yeast Hoist, a Golden Tripel from Brouwerij Sterkens N.V., is a strangely collaborative beer. It's mostly just a relabeling of an existing brew, capitalizing on the exclusivity of the limited edition graphics that adorn the bottle, and the micro-sized comic strapped around its neck. The comic and label are the work of American comic artist Ron Regé, Jr. The comic itself is a silly little rumination on the inter-connectivity of things, titled "Kept in Balance by Equal Weights." It makes for an interesting diversion, but is no real reason to buy the beer, unless you happen to be a fan of Regé's, already.

Unfortunately, the beer itself is no real reason to buy the beer, either. It smells kind of like a cheap macro-brew, with a clean, grainy sweetness predominating. There are some hints of pepper and spice, but not much. An aggressive pour into a plastic cup yields a light, hazy, straw-like yellow beer with a huge, creamy head. After a long pause, the thick foam subsides to a fluffy cap with substantial lacing.

Improving significantly on the nose, the beer tastes of cloves and under-ripe pears. A malty counter-balance and a touch of clean hop bitterness keep the beer level, while a hint of lemon peel floats along in the background. The reasonable 7.7 ABV is somewhat apparent, offering a gentle but noticeable warmth. It finishes dry, with a slightly metallic tang.

I ended up finishing the beer over my "Rock'N Roll Sushi" (a decent pairing, actually), which should tell you that the beer was reasonably enjoyable. It was not, however, special enough to warrant the price (Specs lists the bottle at $11.57; I think I paid closer to $8 last night). I did get to keep the fancy bottle, so I guess there's that.



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