Saturday, 8 April 2017

23 Trees - Citra Saison

It’s not often I get sent beers to review, so it was a pleasant surprise when a beer from the Black Isle Brewing Company arrived through the post. It was a limited edition Saison-style beer, and one with a message, but it’s only recently that I got round to drinking it.

The beer is called 23 Trees, and is a “Citra Saison”, weighing in at 6.6%. It was brewed in dedication to 23 ancient trees that were felled on land bordering Black Isle’s organic farm, where much of the barley they use for brewing is grown. The leaflet, which accompanied the beer, is reproduced below, and detail’s Black Isle’s anger at what they describe as “the irresponsible destruction” of these trees.

Now I don’t know the full story behind the tree-felling episode, but Black Isle describe themselves as the UK’s Premier Organic Brewery, so I can understand why they got a little upset over this. Their website says, “As organic brewers we pay 3 times as much for our hops and twice as much for our barley, but we believe that some things are just worth paying for!”

In response to the destruction of the trees, Black Isle have stated they will plant 200 others in their place. Good for them, as this will obviously be good for the local environment, and should  also get the point across to their chain-saw happy neighbours.

Black Isle was started in 1998 by David Gladwin, who set out to make world class beer using barley and hops grown on organic farms as nature intended, without the use of destructive chemicals. Today the brewery can produce up to 10,000 litres a day packaged in bottles, casks and kegs, with the beer shipped all over Scotland, the rest of the UK and to countries all over the world. So what of the beer itself? 

23 Trees Citra Saison 6.6%, is a pale-straw coloured beer with a distinctive citrus aroma. There are also tropical fruit notes present in both the nose and the taste. The beer pours clear and bright, with a nice fluffy head supported by plenty of carbonation. It is rich in taste, which is hardly surprising given its relative high strength.

There is certainly ample malt body to support both the flavour derived from the citrus hops and the distinctive zesty “saison” taste of this “true to style” beer. I thoroughly enjoyed this well-crafted beer, although with an ABV of 6.6%, it's definitely not a "session beer".

Now I must admit to not having known much about Black Isle prior to receiving this beer, but having looked at the brewery’s website, I am impressed by the range of diverse and interesting-looking beers in the company’s portfolio. If nothing else, them sending me this bottle has opened my eyes to what they have available, so this is a win for them, as well as for me.

Check the brewery out for yourselves, by clicking the link, here.

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