Last September I was able to visit the Pacific NW on a hop selection trip. While on that trip, cruising through Portland for a day and a half, I had the pleasure of visiting The Commons Brewery - a "European-inspired" brewery in a really amazing space. While there, I chatted with the friendly and informed bartender and had several of their low-gravity, dry, effervescent ales. As I was only in town for a short bit and had a long list of places to hit (Cascade Barrel House is just a couple of blocks away as is Hair Of The Dog!) I didn't linger too long but grabbed several bottles to take home.
Once back and well-rested, I opened a bottle of Petit Classique - a low abv Saison brewed with pink peppercorns. It was simple, playfully rustic, highly-carbonated, dry, and ultra refreshing. It was a spark. An inspiration point. When the time was right, we would create a fun, light, flavor-packed, low abv, delicious table beer that was snappy, lively, and bright. Introducing Semitone, our brand new Petit Saison brewed with sweet orange peel.
Semitone - "also called a half step or a half tone, is the smallest musical interval commonly used in Western tonal music." What a fitting name for our new "table/session/petit" Saison, right?! The beer is composed of a pretty simple malt bill, designed to fill a supporting role only. Hops are very restrained - just enough to bitter the beer without actually showing up in the glass. An abundance of sweet orange peel from a citrus farmer in Florida added to the whirlpool lends a beautiful bright and juicy character. The true spotlight of the beer, however, is the yeast. We employed one of our favorite rustic, yet refined, Saison yeast strains that produces a wonderfully dry & complex aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel. We allow the yeast a lot of time to finish it's job, and the results are undeniable.