21st Amendment Sneak Attack Saison

Where in Town: Morris Miller Wine & Spirits, 7804 Alaska Ave. NW

Price: $9.99/six-pack

The War on Winter

21st Amendment’s American history-themed labels have never been more eye-catching than this: George Washington and his crew crossing the frigid Delaware River with a boatful of beer ready for a beach party. Their surprise assault is not on Redcoats, but winter itself. Their main weapon? Summertime fun. Granted, a shirtless, beer-bellied founding father is not exactly appetizing, but Sneak Attack’s label had me at “winter saison.” The phrase is an oxymoron—farmhouse ales tend to be associated with warm weather. But that’s the point. The San Francisco-based brewery’s late-winter seasonal offers a surprising, but welcome, alternative to the dark, strong brews that crowd the shelves in cold months.

Let’s Spice Things Up

21st Amendment’s brewing team experimented with ingredients ranging from dandelions to black pepper before landing on organic green cardamom pods as a perfect accent to the natural spice and fruit characters of the beer’s Belgian saison yeast. Subtle aromas of lemon zest, hay, and pepper prepare the way for the brew’s bold flavor: a sharp citrus zing and pronounced cardamom, clove, and peppery spiciness balanced by just the right amount of sweet, bready malt. Light-bodied, Sneak Attack lacks the depth of traditional farmhouse ales from Europe. But each sip finishes satisfyingly dry, followed by a soothing warmth despite the beer’s quaffable 6.2 percent alcohol. It’s just the thing to help General Washington conquer the cold—and maybe you, too.

Photo by Tammy Tuck