BrewDog said it about me, Mark Dredge and Pete Brown when we went to brew Avery, Brown, Dredge. We go on tour, smash preconceptions with an iconoclastic dry-hopped rye mild, and then write a thousand unpunctuated words about it (that was Adrian Tierney-Jones at Arbor Ales, with Ryeteous Mild - I lied about the punctuation). And Melissa Cole didn't bugger about when she went to brew at Ilkley - a rhubarb saison with vanilla, grains of paradise and orange peel. Have at you, convention!
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - saison is the riesling of the beer world. It's a delicious, complex and under-appreciated style that can hit the mark like nothing else. It's also tricky to get right - I'm not sure that I've ever had a cask saison that's been worthy of the name, and even keg saisons seem to lack a certain something. But taking the cap or cork from a bottle of saison, and the eruption of escaping gas, with it's faint aroma of hay, spice and sweet silage on the breeze, seems to bring the beer to life in a way that draught dispense just doesn't. Garrett Oliver talks about the eruption of life force you get when opening a saison, and he's right, not just in the force of the escaping gas, but also the pungent aromas too. It needs all that busy carbonation to lighten the palate and make it taste just so.
I didn't get to try this beer on draught, but I doubt that it could better the bottles. All the classic saison hallmarks are there - brisk carbonation, complex yeasty spiciness, dry finish - and each one of these is accentuated very subtly by the ingredients. The vanilla slightly fills out yeasty palate, the spices lift the aromatics a touch, and the rhubarb adds a slight tartness to the finish. Much as I love hops, it's nice to try a beer that has been made subtly modern without the addition of armfuls of the damn things. Hazy, lovely and moreish. Nice work all concerned.
NOTE: I'll be buying and selling this beer through the business I own, although I don't think this has influenced my opinion of it