Saisons aren't generally considered winter beers, but that doesn't matter to California's 21st Amendment Brewery, creators of Sneak Attack, its January-March winter seasonal.
Further challenging convention, Sneak Attack is available in cans, an unusual packaging option for this rustic Belgian style. A canned saison seems like a home run in, say, the middle of August. But, even in February, it's surprisingly great. In fact, it's perfect timing for 21st Amendment, which rolled out distribution in the bay area last month.
Sneak Attack is named after George Washington's famous winter crossing of the Delaware River, a logistically improbable and wholly surprising maneuver that led to victory against the troops stationed in Trenton, N.J. Going against expectations worked for Washington, and from the taste of it, it's working for 21st Amendment.
Sneak Attack has a beautifully floral nose, which is augmented by the addition of whole cardamom pods in the brewing process. This also adds an impressive spiciness to the brew, which acts as a foil to its estery, subtly malty base. The addition of Belgian candi sugar produces further fermentation, leading to a dry, crisp finish. It hits all the notes.
It may not be the optimal cold weather beer, but for a mild Florida February, it could be just the thing.
Justin Grant, Times correspondent