Near downtown Fort Worth is a brewery named after the dwelling of a native bird as well as being the sur name of one of the co-founders. Martin House Brewing Co. has been serving up brews since March 30, 2013. These guys are proud of their home state touting “Made in Texas by Texans.”

On today’s slate for analysis is Hibiscus Saison. Based on its River House Saison but with a higher ABV and a healthy addition of hibiscus petals. This beer is the February release for Martin House’s micro-seasonal series and is inspired by aqua de Jamaica.

Martin House Hibiscus Saison can

Pop the top and into a snifter, Hibiscus Saison pours an opaque but bright blood red and in saison like fashion sports a large rocky head; only this time the head is brilliantly pink. The aroma is fairly complex and consists of a strong herbal tea quality up front with lemon zest, yeast, and black pepper filling out the good parts. Now for the bad aromas. There is a medical plastic or Band-Aid note and a slight vomit note as well. They don’t dominate but certainly deter from the smell of this beer.

Martin House Hibiscus Saison

At this point the beer appears very wine like and I’m tempted to drink it with my pinky out for high fashion’s sake. Fortunately, the first sip impression is encouraging. The floral quality is gargantuan while also being supported by a spicy yeast note. Sip number two builds on that spicy aspect while starting to reveal the dryness of the beer. It also has a strange soapiness about it. The closer I get to the bottom of the glass the more I begin to not like this beer. With just a slight warming it has started to reveal some astringency and a stale malt note on the finish. Hibiscus Saison reminds me a bit of a Caribbean Christmas drink called Sorrel Shandy albeit not as sweet.

Martin House Hibiscus Saison
BREWERY: Martin House Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Fort Worth, Texas
STYLE: Saison
ABV: 7 percent
IBU: 29
PRICE: $1.75 (Six-packs of 12-ounce cans, $10.50)
RELEASE DATE: February 2016
AVAILABLE IN: 12-ounce can
I’m equating this beer with a “friends with benefits” relationship. It’s good but not good enough to want to make a commitment. It started off well enough but given some time and close inspection began to show its flaws. With some tweaks and further refining it could be a winner.
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