The Seven Faces of Pepe Grano
The Seven Faces of Pepe Grano - 6.7% ABV
Haw River Farmhouse Ales (Saxapahaw, North Carolina)
7-Grain Peppercorn Saison
Pouring this beer, I am very excited to see how it tastes. It came highly recommended by one of my good friends, isn't available in the Birmingham area and is one of my souvenirs from a recent trip to Raleigh, NC. I only purchased two tall-boy cans, so we'll see if I share the second with my husband or if I keep it for myself.
*Quick note: My experience with saisons and farmhouse-style ales is pretty limited. It's not a style I gravitate toward, and I've had a few that I didn't like. My favorite is definitely Avondale's Spring Street Saison, and if I'm craving a saison I'll probably order that beer. But we'll see if this beer encourages me to branch out a little more.
The beer pours with zero head and a clear golden color. There's carbonation throughout, continuing to come up from the bottom of the glass. Its smell is what you'd expect from a saison — very wheat-forward with a slight sweetness.
According to the can, this beer is brewed with seven different grains and seven different peppercorns, and if you close your eyes and think really hard you can get a hint of spice in the nose, but that might just be me really wanting to smell pepper.
On first sip, it is way more crisp than I would have thought. With my not-so-favorite saisons, the wheat takes over and coats my tongue in earthy tones that make me think I licked wet hay. This beer, however, has a slight tartness with an undertone of pepper that almost reminds me of a toned-down gose.
If you take a small sip, the tartness is what comes through, but if you let it rest on your tongue, you get flavors that go from tart to sweet and wheaty to spicy. The spice doesn't kick your ass or overwhelm the beer. Instead, it reminds me of lifting a spicy, cooked pepper toward your mouth, taking a deep breath in through your mouth and feeling the spice before you even take a bite.
It. Is. Awesome.
This beer is super bright and would be crushable if you're the type of person who doesn't want to break down all of those flavors. A quick gulp gets less of the pepper, and instead leaves your mouth with a super sweet coating from the malt. But trust me, this beer is worth savoring — especially if you pick it up and aren't sure when you'll make it to North Carolina again.
(Another note on savoring - the pepper flavor comes out more and more if the beer rests a little bit. Give it time, and maybe give it like 10 minutes out of the fridge before pouring it.)
Overall, this beer gives me more faith in saisons. I would definitely buy this beer again, and I might not share the second with my husband.
Have a saison I should try? Make sure to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or shoot me a message on Instagram - @girlmeetsbeerbhm.