So if you didn’t get the memo, Celia Saison is not Heady Topper. That’s certainly not a shocker and really, anyone that buys this beer based on the hype of brews produced by the Alchemist alone is bound to be disappointed, no matter what comes out of the bottle. But for those that had a chance to drink a beer or two at the Alchemist before Irene washed it away, you know that this beer is at the other end of the spectrum from the start. Take away a brewers core ingredients and you’re bound to see them produce a very different product than what you are used to seeing.
Unfortunately Celia Saison doesn’t seem to stand up even when you give it a pass on it being a gluten free beer. It feels like a puzzle with the pieces incorrectly jammed together so they fit, but form an unrecognizable picture. The orange peel is distinct and pleasant enough and you can tell that this is generally a beer in the saison family, but other than that it’s just off. After the orange the taste is overly medicinal and pretty off-putting.
The first batch of this beer was pulled off the shelves when Alchemist brewer John Kimmich didn’t feel it was up to standards. I’m not saying this batch should have been recalled, but I’d wager a guess and say that this beer isn’t up to the standards of what most folks expect from the Alchemist, gluten free or not. Here are a couple of other takes on it from the beer geeks at Beer Advocate and Steve Greenlee at the Boston Globe.
Verdict: If you’re a beer geek, stick to Heady Topper. If you’ve got celiac disease, stick to cider.
Actually brewed in Ipswich, Massachusetts, we decided to review this beer anyway.