This is a particularly exciting triple release from Botany brewers Slow Lane this March. Yes, all three beers are very good, but that’s pretty much par for the course. The main cause for all this excitement is a beer style that’s completely new to me! So let’s stop playing silly buggers and find out what the bloody hell a bière de mars is, shall we?
If two years of primary school French 25 years ago hasn’t completely escaped me, this style directly translates as March beer, ie beer made for drinking in early spring. However, there does seem to be two different types of bière de mars. One from Belgium that was a kind of weaker, more refreshing lambic and one from the Alsace region that’s much closer to a French saison or table beer. This Slow Lane iteration is of the latter persuasion.
With A Mars a Day, they’ve essentially brewed a 5 percent ABV bright and hoppy saison. Basically, the exact kind of beer you want a thousand cases of if you’re ever stranded on a tropical island. No doubt due to a hefty dry hop of European nobles, it starts with a beautiful fresh floral aroma with added lemon zest and white pepper. Using Vienna malt as the base is a stroke of genius because it adds just a bit more toasty malt complexity that underlines the lively hop character. With high carbonation and a clean, dry finish there’s basically no month of the year where such a beer wouldn’t be very warmly welcomed.
With a lot of collaboration beers, it can be almost impossible to know where the actual collaboration came into play. Two breweries coming together to release a beer that’s extremely similar to everything else they would normally release is probably much more exciting for the brewers than the punters. That’s not the case with Attention Seeker, Seeker's Collabruary beer brewed at Slow Lane. When you’ve got a hefeweizen that’s been double dry-hopped with Citra, eagle-eyed readers may very well be able to pick where each brewery’s influence extended to here.
So much of the unique properties of a hefeweizen rely on those distinct yeasty esters and phenols so it’s very cool to see what happens when you blast it with Citra. Predictably there’s big lemon/lime citrus aromas but also peach and a hint of herbal spice. I did manage to track down a scooch of hef banana but really, it’s all Citra, baby. All that wheat gives a mildly sweet and rounded malt base which makes the overall beer come across like a much more fulsome and spicy American wheat ale. Very cool.
Our final release for the month is a Slow Lane hazy IPA that highlights the closely related and completely complimentary hop combination of Simcoe and Mosaic. Both hops are widely sought after for their tropical stonefruit and citrus compounds, but it’s the deep dank funky element that’s the real killer for mine.
Family Ties pours a murky sun yellow with a huge thick head that’s desperate to escape the glass. Like all of Slow Lane’s hoppier beers there’s always the overture of fruit driven yeast esters to start things off. This is followed by a riot of grapefruit, lemon juice, mango, mushy plums and the familiar Simcoe dank. For a 6.5 percent ABV beer the malt is really light on but maintains a great mouthfeel, bracing bitterness and finishes bone dry and quaffable but with a lingering yeasty earthiness. Honestly. it made me think that this is how good a Coopers IPA could be, if they ever had the guts to give it a proper crack.
Published March 29, 2023 2023-03-29 00:00:00