Casey Brewing and Blending has only been around for a little over a year, but the Glenwood Springs, Colo.-based brewery is doing a whole lot of things right early on.
It’s a very small operation and with only three beers currently in production, one of which doesn’t even have a name yet. In 2009, Troy Casey started his obsession with sour beers that eventually led him to start his own brewery.
“Our beers are created with over 99% local Colorado ingredients,” says the Casey website. “We ferment and age our beers in vintage oak barrels with a mixed culture of saccharomyces, brettanomyces and lactic acid bacteria. Time is one of the most important elements to us, as the barrel aging process creates flavors that are impossible to create any other way. Our beers are unfiltered and 100% bottle conditioned.”
Though Casey has only been around for a short time this was its second out of three batches of its Saison. The first in the series was capped and the second and third releases were corked and caged. They also have a series of beers called, Fruit Stand where the saison is used as the base beer and then Colorado fresh fruits are added. The fruits used in the series are cherries, peaches, plums, blackberries and apricots, they are allowed to slowly ferment to have the sugars release naturally which results in a farmhouse ale.
According to its website future batches will include; raspberries, gooseberries, nectarines and grapes.
“Our Saison is as old-world as it gets,” reads the Casey website. “We use 100% Colorado ingredients: Colorado water, malted and raw barley and wheat, Crystal hops and a yeast blend of saison yeast, brettanomyces and lactobacillus. We ferment the beer in custom-made open oak barrel fermenters. After this rustic primary fermentation, the beer goes to other barrels for further aging and flavor development. The result is a citrusy, dry, tart and effervescent beer worthy of sharing.”
The beer pours a beautiful gold and has around three-fingers of cloud-like head that forms and is slow to disappear. There is a little lacing that clings to the side of the glass and also some sediment that is floating around. After everything settles, Saison #2 almost looks neon yellow, it’s so bright.1 Overall, it’s a visually beautiful beer, both on the first and second pours.
The nose on the Casey is really something special: there is a good amount of very smooth sour notes along with some barrel characteristics and loads of citrus. I pick up the same type of fresh citrus that I get when I squeeze the oil out of a lemon peel. The smell is very inviting and it’s a beer that you really want to drink as soon as I nose it.
The flavor delivers everything that the smell promises, beautiful notes of tart sourness, lemon peel and also maybe some orange in there as there is a slight sweetness. I can taste the oak characteristic on the front and back end of every drink and I notice very quickly that the Casey Saison #2 is very balanced. It is also an extremely refreshing beer, the kind you would want on a hot day.2 It’s also very smooth; it’s clean on the palate and tongue. As noted in the appearance the second time through the beer was much more yeasty which makes the mouthfeel silkier, it feels much heavier and the beer was noticeably more sour. Both were fantastic representations of the style and it was like a bonus getting two slightly different beers from one bottle.