adventures in craft beer in Perth and beyond

Cowboys + Saisons

A few years ago if someone had told me I’d be drinking a Saison brewed in Kalgoorlie I think I might have laughed at them. Granted I’ve never been to Kalgoorlie but a few years ago it would have seemed to me as an unexpected source of some great craft beer. However here I am with an empty bottle of Kalgoorlie’s own Beaten Track Brewery’s Saison on my table.

Beside this bottle is another, also empty, from American brewer Evil Twin called The Cowboy. It’s a smoked pilsner with one of the funniest blurbs I have read on a beer bottle.

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This label speaks to all my silliness and child-like simplicity whilst containing a tasty beer that definitely speaks to the adult in me.

Together these were my two beers that I presented to accompany dinner on Saturday night.

My partner cooked a big, thick steak, sous vide style using an esky and a thermometer. Yeah, that’s right, you can stick your fancy sous vide machine cause an esky, a kettle and thermometer will do the job just nicely; a quick sear on the BBQ and your got yourself a bloody good piece of meat! For sides he did potato and parsley rösti and a salad of rocket, parmesan, sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts.
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Beaten Track Saison
This beer is part of their Brewmaster’s Small Batch series of which there appears to be quite a few. I spotted these at Mane Liquor where Jackson, one of the staff, recommended the Saison as a highlight of the range.

This Saison is complicated in a totally lovely way, in a way that challenges you to peel away each layer and figure out what’s happening. It is very herbal and has a big whack of spices, all continually evolving as it warms. I sat on this beer for a while and at varying stages got flavours like under ripe apricots or apricot seed, banana and cooked lemon.
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Evil Twin The Cowboy

Evil Twin The Cowboy on Ratebeer

This is the first smoked pilsner I have ever had and for some reason I wasn’t expecting a huge dose of smoke, perhaps because as a generalisation I tend to expect softer flavours from pilsners compared to ales. Anyway, I was wrong. There is an unmistakable smokiness to this beer, the campfire variety that makes you want to pack up your tent and get away from it all. It does well to support a sweet meaty flavour, a hint of fruit and citrus which, I’ll admit might sound a little odd, but the flavours are a winning combination.

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But which went better with steak???
I’d have to give the preference to The Cowboy though it was perhaps a bit too big for the steak. Maybe a roasted dish would have been a better fit.

One thing I did conclude from the dinner, aside from my partner being a wicked home-sous vide cook, is that pine nuts and saisons should get married. There is something about the pine nuts sweeter, more oily nature that goes really well with saison, I don’t know why but I am not going to argue!

Both beers also added something of their own to the potato rösti which also had garlic and Italian parsley through it. Again The Cowboy probably dominated but it was interesting to taste the smokiness as you got into the rösti. Meanwhile the herbal and hint of grassiness in the Saison was a great harmony with the mix of spud and parsley.

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