In the beer world, everyone wants to find something new and different these days. Some styles (like India Dark Ale) are new inventions, while others (Session IPA) are merely reformulations of existing ones. I have seen excellent examples in both arenas, but for me the most interesting of all are resurrections of rarely seen classic styles.
Of late, I’ve been seeing lots of smaller breweries making great examples of Gose and Berliner Weiss. To be sure, Sly Fox Grisette is in neither of those styles, and a Grisette is not a style in its own right. It’s really a farmhouse ale aka saison, but the interesting thing (and logical correlation here) is that I can certainly recall a time not so long ago (in the 90s and early aughts) when it was quite rare indeed for an American brewery to make a saison. Today, they are rather common.
Sly Fox calls Grisette a “working class” beer and we’ll soon see why. From the can label:
This unfiltered, spicy Belgian-style ale was originally brewed in the Hainaut province. Grisette derives its name from the French word for "gray" and references the color of the factory frocks worn by the young women who doled out pints at day’s end. The flashing blue eye of our saucy version celebrates these legendary working class coquettes as well as the whispered tales of more extensive favors they may also have offered.
Hmmm. Sounds like they might have more accurately labeled this beer as a “working girl ale” than “working class”, but either way it’s worth a try. On the Sly Fox website, they do add that Grisette was “the beer of the miners in the area, just as Saison was the beer of the farmers. It was lighter than Saison and frequently contained wheat as well as barley malt (as does the Sly Fox version). “So, if not a style, perhaps a substyle then.
Sly Fox is based in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and its beers are not sold in Georgia. I received a can of Grisette from the very generous Chuck Triplett. The beer has an alcohol content of 5.6% by volume with 25 IBUs.
Sly Fox Grisette Working Class Ale pours to a cloudy yellow color with a thick rocky head formation and an eminently spicy nose of citrus, coriander and cloves. Taking a sip, the beer has a supporting light maltiness to it at the fore with a touch of tart wheat followed by loads of the spices the nose promised plus funky yeast notes. The beer finishes bitter and dry, tart and refreshing. This is a complex light spicy refresher that I very much enjoyed.
I can easily see myself enjoying a few cans of Sly Fox Grisette after a hard day in the coal mines….errrr, or at the office. However the case may be.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.