There are many fun aspects to owning a brewery… meeting interesting new people, tasting cheese for beer & cheese events, coming up with names for beers… I could go on 🙂 . For me, one of my favorite parts of owning a brewery is collaborating with Annette and team on recipes and flavors, to come up with new beers that taste unique, but that are also very well balanced, very drinkable, and very enjoyable.

I think we did just that with this next Unafraid of the Dark III beer, which is a dark saison with anise hyssop. We call it Hyssop Hooray. (side note – For those of you that don’t get the reference, check out this video here from Naughty By Nature, who performed the song Hip Hop Hooray. The song might get stuck in your head.. it has been stuck in mine for the past 21 years :). 

A Saison is a farmhouse style of beer that traditionally was consumed by seasonal farm works during the harvest. In fact, the term Saison means season in French. Unlike some other styles of beer, the style parameters for a Saison are a bit loose. Some use Brettanomyces to give the beer funky, barnyard notes. Some Saisons are fruity. All tend to have a dry finish and are low on hop aroma. Our Saison was brewed using oats (from Whately, MA) roasted by Valley Malt. Once the beer was put into the secondary, we added a ‘tea’ that we made using Anise Hyssop. For those of you not familiar with Anise Hyssop, it is a perennial plant that has beautiful purple flowers with an anise-like flavor. Our Anise Hyssop also came from Valley Malt (or, more specifically my cousin Andrea’s garden!) According to Wikipedia, Anise hyssop was used medicinally by Native Americans for cough, fevers, wounds, diarrhea.  So drink up! 🙂

So what does Hyssop Hooray taste and look like? Here are our notes:
Appearance: This beer has a dark brown / light black color. The light tan color head is fairly thick (as you can see in the picture below.)
Aroma: We get a bit of roast on the nose, but really some nice anise and candy aromas come through.
Taste & mouthfeel: The body is fairly light – making the beer super drinkable. On first sip, you should get the toasty / roastiness from the oats. The roastiness comes off as kind of a burnt roastiness (burnt good as in burnt caramel.. not burnt bad like burnt popcorn. 🙂 Like all Saisons, this beer is what we would call highly attenuated, meaning we let the yeast eat up pretty much all of the fermentable sugars in the beer, leaving it somewhat dry. The dry roastiness of the beer is balanced really nicely by the anise notes from the hyssop. In fact, this great anise flavor lingers on your tongue long after you have taken a sip of the beer. The beer finishes with a tiny bit of the Belgians yeast characteristics, but it isn’t too noticeable.
Pairing: We think this beer goes nicely with stronger flavors. The Black Trumpet paired the beer with a Rabbit Liverwurst Sandwich (which was amazing!), here at the brewery we paired it with blue cheese from Brookford Farm (Canterbury, NH) and the tangy and buttery Landaff from Landaff Creamery (Landaff, NH). The beer brought out the ‘blue’ in the blue cheese and the Landaff brought out the licorice notes in the Saison.
Stats – ABV is 5.8%

Hyssop Hooray will be available starting this week. Cheers!

Hyssop Hooray with the Mardi Gras Rooster 548 by 411

Laissez les bon temps roulez with Hyssop Hooray!