Brasserie Saint James is one of the younger breweries that I’ve covered, only having opened their brewpub to the public in October 2012. Starting a few years earlier in 2008 as St. James Infirmary, its focus was bringing previously unavailable beers from all around the world to the Reno, Nev. market.
When they switched it up and started brewing its own beer, they brought their European-centric passions into play, focusing much of their efforts on those European beer styles and offering up European comfort dishes at their brewpub. One of those specific beer styles they enjoy are Belgian Trappist ales.
While the brewery has won multiple awards for its beers and brewery, today I’ll be looking at the Third Man, which took gold at the 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship in the Belgian Tripel category. While the bottle’s labeling isn’t overly complicated, the art and logo pop nicely against the brown bottle, giving a bit of refined simplicity to the overall presentation.
With all their talk about passion for traditional European beers, I was a little surprised at the choice of a bottle cap as opposed to the more commonly seen cork and cage. Either way, it was the thing that was getting between me and my beer, so I pried it off and poured the clear, golden yellow liquid into my glass. The pour wasn’t overly vigorous, but a quarter inch of head did appear that reduced quickly to a lacing around the edge and a film on the top of the beer. Sticking my nose in the glass I was greeted with sweet citrus and a bit of red delicious apple, but mostly just a crisp and clean aroma – not much else.
Taking my first sip the taste is quite crisp, with some more mild citrus, a sweet light apple taste but not much else – overall very bright and clean. The mouthfeel is medium and has a good amount of carbonation without it being overwhelming. Really the mouthfeel is quite a compliment to the profile – very crisp with just enough weight to not be anywhere near watery. The finish mostly short and is just slightly bitter, but there’s some sweetness to it that counteracts the bitterness so again, it’s just kind of neutral and clean.