No Corporate Beer: Latitude & Longitude Raspberry Barrel Aged Saison

This is No Corporate Beer, Decibel’s semi-new beer-spotting, consumer guide where we drink a beer and then review it. Now that we’ve accomplished the drinking part of the equation, we present the review part below.

Beer: Latitude & Longitude Raspberry Barrel Aged Saison
Brewery: Innis & Gunn
Style: Saison/ Farmhouse Ale
6% ABV / N/A IBU

This Raspberry Saison – purportedly the first installment in a series of annual releases designed to showcase Innis & Gunn’s craftiness with oak barrel aging – is an odd choice for an opening salvo. A barrel aged saison? Sure, a saison is an ale, and ales typically take on a pretty interesting character when aged in whiskey barrels , but ales also offer a completely neutral canvas, and a saison, by definition, doesn’t fake the funk. So the basic question (we’re getting existential here) with this one is: Can you add fruity flavors and oak a saison and still have it retain its essential saison-ness? The answer is a resounding “maybe,” but not with this one because it’s unclear how much of a saison this Raspberry Barrel Aged Saison was to begin with.

What’s missing is tartness – the sour malt in this brew is particularly muted – and some/any depth from the oaking process, which is this Scottish brewery’s calling card. Mind you, this Innis & Gunn offering is moderately appealing and equally drinkable. Its dominant flavor comes from the raspberries introduced during the aging process, making this a bit more like a fruity ale with a nice nose and a super clean finish, but boozier than your average summertime sesh beer. If you want to get truly geeky, stash this brew in a cellar for another year and see what it’s like aged in bottle. If you don’t wanna wait, pair this beer with sour gummy candy to activate your taste buds and dial the fruitiness up to 11. Sounds gross, right? Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.