Sombremesa The Magic of Constraints & Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Bière De Garde & Mixed Culture Saison
6.4% & 5.9%

It's a busy beer world out there, but one thing you can rely on is that Sobremesa Fermentary & Blendery will always take their time and do things their own way.

The Magic of Constraints is certainly an example of that, even if a three month production time is quite a quick turnaround for the Melbourne makers of complex and delightful saisons. The blonde bière de garde was fermented in stainless steel with Sobremesa's house culture and features Saaz and Aramis hops along with organic pilsner malt, raw wheat and raw triticale from Voyager.

Maybe it’s the power of the label, but if you wanted a beer to enjoy while at a picnic while eating fresh baguettes and the largest selection of cheese you could possible carry, this is it. The light, effervescent saison is incredibly zippy and filled with herbal and floral aromas that complement soft waves of lemon peel and fresh pear. Although it's quite lean, there’s a palate weight that hangs over Constraints and acts as a counterweight to the beer’s sprightly carbonation.

Also new from the brewers and blenders is Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy, with the title seeming to be a suggestion that you don’t compare it too closely to the wilder side of Belgium. That's easier said than done with the mixed culture saison using whole Styrian Golding hop flowers that Sombremesa’s Casey Grieve has been ageing over some years – common practice amongst lambic brewers. The beer was then fermented on oak with a blend of their house strain plus Pediococcus, lactobacillus and five strains of Brettanomyces (count them - five!) for 13 months.

Unsurprisingly, given how it was made and by whom, it’s a mighty complex beer in which the aroma is earthy and a little tea-like as a funkier side makes it presence felt. On the palate, a lasting but light acidity brings lime, grapefruit and apricot flavours that are akin to a reisling, while that fruited and tarter side is balanced by a substantial bitterness. Apparently it's bad practice to make comparisons but if you wanted a rustic beer that speaks to an old world approach to brewing and does it incredibly well, then this is it.

Will Ziebell

Published April 5, 2024

Sobremesa Fermentary & Blendery

86 Parsons Street
VIC 3031

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