The West Ashley 2018 presents itself as a fully hazy, bright orange-gold elixir, crowned with a generous white foam that lingers gracefully. The 750mL bottle unleashes a color palette reminiscent of a sun-kissed apricot, setting the stage for what’s to come.


Elevating the glass reveals an aroma profile dominated by underripe stone fruit and verdant plant notes, accompanied by sharp, acidic juices. While not as intricate as some of Sante Adairius’ unadorned saisons, the fragrance lacks the delicate nuance of the house yeast blend found in Saison Bernice or Lucybelle.


Embarking on the tasting journey, the West Ashley introduces a melody of moderate lemon juice and leathery apricot skin. However, the flavor lacks a distinct standout element, leaving it somewhat subdued. In classic saison fashion, the beer maintains a light body, high carbonation, and a refreshing character, with minimal sugar and low acidity. The elusive juicy, ripe apricot essence fails to fully materialize, and the beer settles at a modest sourness level of 3/10. As it warms, the barrel aging imparts a subtle slick and buttery texture, though specific Pinot Noir notes remain elusive.


Navigating between the realms of saison and wine barrel-aged sour blonde, West Ashley strikes a delicate balance. The acidity falls somewhere in between the two styles, while the light, effervescent body and dry finish lean closer to saison. The absence of residual sugar, however, tempers the prominence of apricot flavors, aligning the brew more with the tart saison category. Despite a slight slickness from barrel aging, the anticipated Pinot Noir characteristics remain veiled.


West Ashley masterfully treads the line between saison and wine barrel-aged sour blonde, offering a refreshing and flawless drinking experience. The nuanced stone fruit notes, though subtle, anchor the beer firmly within the tart saison territory. A wish lingers for the house yeast to dominate the aroma, as it competes with the fruit addition. While not a paradigm-shifting experience, West Ashley is a commendable classic in the realm of American sour/wild ales, showcasing Sante Adairius Rustic Ales’ prowess in crafting complex and delectable brews.

Critical Reflections on Beer Reviews

In the landscape of beer reviews, the art lies in striking a balance between consumer utility and constructive feedback for the business. Critical reviews, more often than not, garner heightened attention, prompting both consumers and businesses to scrutinize the details. These evaluations should not merely label something as bad but should articulate why it falls short and suggest avenues for improvement.

Reflecting on years of beer reviewing, it becomes evident that critical feedback, far from being a slap in the face, serves as invaluable quality control. Businesses should embrace it as candid feedback on product quality, recognizing that sales alone don’t guarantee sustained success. Instead, a dedicated focus on addressing critical feedback ensures continual growth and competitiveness in the market.

While personal preferences and biases inevitably influence reviews, transparency about these inclinations aids readers in contextualizing opinions. The dynamic nature of beer quality, influenced by various factors, necessitates an understanding that reviews capture a moment in time and may not universally apply to every batch or circumstance.

In conclusion, a well-crafted critical review functions as a tool for improvement rather than an act of sabotage. Embracing honest feedback, both positive and negative, fosters a culture of continual enhancement, ensuring the craft beer industry thrives on consumer trust and satisfaction.

Preferred Styles and Beers: A Personal Palette Perspective

As a seasoned reviewer, it’s essential to acknowledge personal preferences to provide readers with a contextual lens. While open to diverse styles, certain beer styles resonate more strongly. Bright IPAs, Berliner Weisse, Black IPA, dry-hopped blonde sours, Flemish Red, Gose, Grisette, Kölsch, Lambic, and variants like Geuze and Kriek form the palette preferences.

Highlighted among commercial favorites are Aecht Schlenkerla rauchbiers, AleSmith Speedway Stout, Allagash Hoppy Table Beer, and many more. Acknowledging the subjective nature of taste, these preferences serve as a guide for readers with similar palates while emphasizing the inherent variability in beer experiences. Cheers to the shared exploration of diverse and delightful brews!