Review Date 4/8/2015
Here’s to you, Matt Courtwright. If you haven’t heard of Matt, he’s the guy that lost his life in an industrial accident at the Stone Brewing Company back in 2013. Matt was only in his 20s, far too young to leave the Earth, but was taken away when a forklift he was operating tipped over and pinned him. We often pay tribute to the service our soldiers, police officers, and fire fighters provide, but it’s important to remember too that everyday workers sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice.
Matt was a brewer, and to honor his memory, Stone offers us one of his recipes, Matt’s Burning Rosids, an imperial cherrywood-smoked saison. The bottle is clearly marked as “honoring his memory”, and the beer is offered in a spirit of celebration of life rather than mourning of death. From the painted bottle label:
Rather than regarding Burning Rosids as a somber memento, please think of it as a celebration of Matt, just as we do. When you drink this very special beer, please join us in raising your glass, both in Matt's memory and in tribute to everything he so passionately stood for: caring for others, passion and skill for his art, and laughter... lots of laughter. Among the long list of things he held dear were GoDesignInc.org, a charity committed to fulfilling the architectural needs of developing communities around the world; and TKF, a nonprofit working to stop youth violence by educating, mentoring and making positive impacts on high-risk communities. We are proudly contributing funds earned through the sale of this beer to these worthy organizations in Matt's honor.
Matt’s Burning Rosids has an alcohol content of 10.5%, so drink gently. I have only seen it in 22-ounce bomber bottles; I paid $7.99 for mine here in Georgia.
Matt’s Burning Rosids Imperial Cherrywood-Smoked Saison pours to a hazy amber color with a thick rocky foam head and a woody, spicy cloveish and slightly smoky nose. Taking a sip, the beer is really permeated with smoke flavor right from the get go! It’s not the hickory smokiness I’m familiar with from many rauchbiers, which is more like the smokiness that is imparted to smoked foods.
No, this one has an astringent smoke character a lot like taking a puff of smoke in the face. It’s a little woody for me, maybe from the smoke, but also sweet candyish and fruity (cherry fruit) too. The spice of a saison, if here, seems crowded out by the smokiness. The finish is warm with alcohol, and overall this is a very nice beer indeed. The lighter malts add to the different smoky perception, too.
Though nowhere near as intense as a good German Rauchbier, I really love the smoke and the wood here. I think that they define the beer and hence I would classify this as a rauchbier more than a saison. Your mileage may vary, but if you like smoke in your beer, Matt’s Burning Rosids is right up your alley.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.