Yellow Springs. A quaint, artsy town that one of my college professors, a Yellow Springs resident, once told me was full of hippies like himself. Whether that is true, it’s also home to the aptly named Yellow Springs Brewery, where the eclecticity (that’s right, I invent words) of the town mingles with a desire to make beer that makes your mouth happy. Captain Stardust, a saison, is one of the means by which the brewery makes your mouth happy, and it works!
Each breath begins with a grainy base, immediately followed by hints of lemon peel, peppery spices, and orange blossom. There’s a soft hop presence, lending its own spice and a touch of earth, with a few flashes of grapefruit here and there that meld with the overall soft citrus-ness. Near the end, notes of apple and pear, as well as a touch of dried hay, lends the dry-fruit calling card of many a saison yeast.
On the tongue, the grainy base returns, supporting apple peel, lemon juice, and pears. Faint notes of bubblegum follow next, while a clove and pepper spice sneaks in at the sides. Orange peel and grapefruit juice lends some citrusy American hop notes, but they’re only there to add to the yeast, not as a major hop contribution. As it warms, soft notes of banana and vanilla begin to rise from the glass, but they are faint and fleeting, so if you can wait, take your time drinking this beer. The spices tend to fade beneath the dry fruit flavors, and the finish isn’t as crisp as other saisons, but it does leave a lingering “saison vibe” on the tongue that is pleasant and refreshing.
At 6.5% ABV, this technically isn’t a session beer, but it drinks like one. Quenching and full of rustic flavor, Captain Stardust will goad you into a fast drink, but will benefit as a slow sipper. Take your time with this beer, and allow the layers to unfold before you. Or, quench that thirst and have another. It’s as versatile as it is tasty.