Beer Review: AGAINST THE GRAIN COQ DE LA MARCHE

Beer Review: AGAINST THE GRAIN COQ DE LA MARCHE

The matte-labeled 16 oz. can boasts a Bojack Horseman style graphic design, setting a distinctive tone for what lies within. Pouring a hazy golden hue into specialty glassware, the beer exhibits a strong head formation and commendable foam retention. However, the visual allure doesn’t align with the traditional Belgian farmhouse style, hinting at a departure from expectations.

Aroma

The aroma of Coq de la Marche diverges significantly from the classic Belgian farmhouse scent. Initial notes of American dry-hopping introduce unconventional elements like juicy cantaloupe, candied ginger, and lemon drop candies. As the beer warms, a shift towards a malty profile emerges, featuring a sweet clover honey scent with subtle air freshener undertones. The aromatic journey concludes with dominant yellow apple notes, lacking the expected expressive yeast characteristic typical of the style.

Taste

On the palate, the beer opens with an overly sweet introduction reminiscent of Southern sweet tea. However, this initial sweetness swiftly gives way to a lackluster mid-palate, devoid of noteworthy flavors. The backend introduces grainy wheat notes, accompanied by a watery mouthfeel exhibiting paper-like oxidation. Despite the prevalence of apple flavors, they come across as dusty, failing to evoke the expected saison qualities. Notably absent are Belgian, herbal, or farmhouse elements, leaving the beer more akin to an American honey blonde ale, albeit with room for improvement.

Mouthfeel

The mouthfeel of Coq de la Marche disappoints, with a watery consistency that amplifies the perception of staleness or potential heat damage during transit. The lack of bitterness and hop character further contributes to the beer’s overall uninspiring texture. In an ideal state, one might envision a crisper, more vibrant profile, but the current presentation falls short.

Overall

Against the Grain’s Coq De La Marche leaves ample room for enhancement. Crafting a successful saison is no easy feat, requiring a mastery of terroir akin to fine wine. Notably absent are the essential elements—expressive yeast, high-quality malt, elevated carbonation, and a subtle yet substantial hop presence—that distinguish exceptional saisons. While commendable for attempting a challenging style, this particular iteration falls shy of the mark, highlighting the complexities and nuances that make saison a formidable brewing endeavor.