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Beer of the Week: Pacific Brewing Laboratory’s Nautilus Hibiscus Saison

Pacific Brewing Laboratory might sound like a craft brewing operation from the Stanford Linear Accelerator, but actually is the result of dedicated home brewers Bryan Hermannsson and Patrick Horn. The pair started brewing in their garage and now the lab’s concoctions can be found at numerous craft brew bars in San Francisco.

I first sampled their beers a few months with Squid Ink Black IPA, where porter notes meet hops delightfully. It wasn’t until this summer however that I realized their full potential, courtesy of a sensational Belgian saison, called the Nautilus Hibiscus Saison. The Squid Ink brings to mind rugged, aggressive notes, and the color of the night sky. Nautilus is summer elegance.

Floral notes are everywhere, from the slightly pink hue to the body to the rose petal aroma, from the addition of hibiscus to the brew. Hefeweizen’s banana and clove notes came through strongly, along with a truly buttery mouth feel that made the beer immensely smooth. In fact, some of the taste even seemed like butter, possibly from the unfiltered nature of saison beers.

The usual knock on saison and session beers is the lack of spark to them. That is far from the case here. You’ll be transported to the gardens and the islands from the hibiscus. All together, a beautiful summer beer from pioneering home brewers that pushes what one thinks of a saison.

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