Tasting Notes: Rockmill Brewery’s “Saison”

It was the type of autumn day that a man must live to know that he was there.  He can view it in a Van Gogh painting, the “Wheat Stacks with Reaper”, and many of the like.  But he’ll never truly understand unless he takes the leather-handled reaper into his own two hands and slashes at field upon endless fields of early autumn wheat.  As I, Jean Luc and my eternal friend, Pierre, retired from the fields on this particular day, having reaped harvest wheat from before sun-up until late in the majestic purple-hued dusk, we stopped at our steady haunt, the Libertine, for sustenance.  By this time the staff at the Libertine knew our order better than ourselves, and within mere seconds there stood at our table a plate of meats, cheeses, baguette and most importantly a tall pot of the only beer capable of standing up to such a day of rich, rewarding labor: Rockmill Brewery’s “Saison”.  As I took my first deep, long draught of Rockmill’s Saison I lived anew my day of laboring in the fields.  It was the autumn day of dreams, with an unbroken sky of breath-stealing blue and warm, though not hot, sun to keep my neck and hands from requiring cover.  As Pierre backhanded the crisp, hoppy froth of Rockmill Saison from his own mouth he reminded me of why we were here, in a backwater village west of Charleville Mezieres, to wile away our days in the fields as hired laborers.  Pierre and I were not born to the fields as all of those noble, crooked-backed villagers we now sought refuge in the company of.  We met at university many years ago, our friendship forged over debates about who was the greatest philosopher, Sartre or Nietzsche, of Dumas’s masterpieces, and of the folly of Napoleon attacking the Russian winter.  Those early days were spent with forgettable though affordable beers of the city.  None truly satiated a man’s spirit like Rockmill Saison.  Whether it was the misplaced energy of youth or the poorly-crafted beers we consumed like so many empty-headed and silly-hearted coeds (i.e. chicks we banged), Pierre and I found ourselves in soul-crushing positions as government workers, on the pension fast-track.  It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.  Though we seemed to be sailing through life with good friends, comely wenches, and plenty of ales, we knew something was missing.  On a Saturday trip into the countryside to make sport of quail, a local boy served us our first blessed pot of Rockmill Saison.  As the sparse but delicious brew began to course through our veins we felt alive for the first time.  Its golden hops demanded we surrender our trite and meaningless existence, trading it all for the honor and discipline of a life in the sun and the fields.  And so it was that we sold our apartments in the St. Germain/Luxembourg district of Paris and took a loft above a barn in this quintessential northern France farming community.  We require little but air, honest work, the smile of a farm maiden, and of course shitloads of Rockmill Saison.  It is the wellspring from which our spiritual awakening flows.  Without Rockmill Saison it would be as though we never were. 

I really don’t know if the above story is true.  Once when I was in college a guy named Lucien from one of the Baltic republics, sinister looking little scamp with a waxed moustache and greasy trousers, saw me coming out of the library early of a Friday evening on a holiday weekend.  He asked me if “You want we make go to discotheque?”.  After politely refusing, he then recommended I take this small piece of paper with a Degas painting on it upon my tongue.  Given that I am not the type of person who turns someone down twice, I placed the small square on my tongue and bid Lucien g’day.  I had to run back into the library before it closed to retrieve the keys I left on a study table.  That is the last thing I remember.  When building security found me on Tuesday morning I was in the French Literature section lying upon a pile of books saturated with urine.  I could quote entire Moliere plays and I was wearing a beret fashioned from Friday’s copy of the school newspaper.  But that is neither here nor there my friends.  The point is that I recently drank my bottle of Rockmill Brewery Saison.  I must divulge the following before I continue: I really don’t care that much for Saisons.  I don’t dislike them, but they are certainly not my favorite.  That being said, this Saison is kicking ass and taking names.  It is refreshing, it is delicious, and chicks dig it.  I don’t possess the requisite bullshit to discuss beer in all the preferred beer-nerd nomenclature and I’m not sure I understand how to quaff shit.  As stated Saisons are not my thing per se, but this one is “right”, and I know enough to acknowledge that.  I would liken it to your first french kiss.  You may not know what you are doing or what you are looking for, and you soon realize you are licking a soppy sponge that may or may not taste like cigarettes and Jolly Ranchers…..but yet it is still right.  You know enough to know that.  If this Saison is enough to make my mouth ecstatic, then I’m confident it will taste ball-rattlingly good to seasoned Saison fans.     

If you take nothing else from these tasting notes, you should take the following: Cheese-eating surrender monkey French everywhere should be quaking in their stockings.  Queue up the Toby fucking Keith, because Rockmill gives us reason anew “to be prowwwd ta be an Meriken…”  You frolicking little frogs cannot even out-Saison us anymore.  This could be the 1976 Judgment of Paris all over again, only this time an outfit from southeast Ohio is going to take home the gold.  You heard me right fuckers, “southeast Ohio”.  At least when you are losing to California you can take solace in the fact that California is pretty fucking cool, and Jerry Lewis probably hangs out there.  Not so much with Ohio.  And this isn’t Cleveland, Cincinnati, or even Columbus.  This is Lancaster, Jack.  If this Saison wants to come and storm the beach at Normandy, it will.  Fair warning. 

About Zach

Male homo sapien. Warrior poet. I live in Chicago with one wife, one offspring, and Scout the dog. I enjoy various stuff. Besides skinny skiing and going to bullfights on acid, I also enjoy running, reading, drinking, eating and procrastinating on many things, such as starting this blog. I have a mom, a dad, and a younger brother who recently produced a sister-in-law. I'm the only person in my family, sister-in-law included, who doesn't have a post-graduate degree. I guess that makes me special. I grew up in a small to medium sized town in the middle of Ohio. In fact the even smaller town next door has a sign which reads "The Geographic Center of Ohio". Given this is what they choose to boast you can only imagine how exciting that town is. My town is infinitely cooler. For example on weekend nights people from my town and the surrounding villages and hamlets converge on the public square to "cruise" in their souped-up mini trucks, some bearing Confederate flags, despite growing up and living rather safely north of the Mason-Dixon line. This is high-minded stuff we're talking about here. I graduated sometime during the Clinton presidency from the local high school where I played football and participated in absolutely nothing else. This strategy paid huge dividends when I applied to numerous colleges on the eastern seaboard which were highly selective. When you show up to the admissions table with "HIgh School Football and Nothing Else" on your application, you get respect. After graduating from Ohio University with a degree in Economics that I've used for absolutely nothing, I moved to Boston. Boston is a lovely city. I was doing things I'm not proud of for beer money and I left after 16 months. My next move was to Chicago and 10+ years later there I still reside. I write this blog for therapeutic reasons. Much like some people paint to relax or smoke crack to unwind after a stressful day, I record my thoughts on Al Gore's World Wide Web for 9 friends, 4 family members, 1 person who accidentally clicked through after an unsuccessful Google search for something else, and a guy named Patriot1 who lives in a silver Air Stream in the Nevada desert and broadcasts his own radio show. Is there a point to all of this? I doubt it. Years ago and in a galaxy far, far away (College Park, Maryland, then Athens, Ohio) I was toying with the idea of being a journalism major. I enjoyed writing so it seemed the obvious fit. Then I attended career day and learned that journalism majors could look forward to a salary of $EA,TSH.IT per year with the promise of a fatal heart attack at 47 years of age. I'm not falling for that trick, I told them (them being no one, and told being saying it in my own mind in the shower). Approximately 15 years later here I sit declared the big winner in that battle: I never made any money doing anything else and now I'm writing entirely for free. So suck balls, journalism career day. The views expressed in this website are mine and mine entirely. I don't wish to be an even bigger black eye to my family than I probably already am. As a result of this I will never be able to run for public office and I accept that reality. But this website is a very dignified, well-dressed skeleton full of witty retorts and honorable deeds compared to the disheveled, stenching, staggering and loud skeletons who would come marching out of the closet to White Zombie's "Thunderkiss '65" if they ever unearthed the college years. So enjoy your train ride, your hangover day at work, your AA meeting or your dump. I'm here to serve.
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One Response to Tasting Notes: Rockmill Brewery’s “Saison”

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