Review: Goose Island Sai-Shan-Tea

In Beer Reviews by Ryan

Goose Island Sai-Shan-Tea
Saison, 7.5% ABV

Sayeth the Guys:

Ryan: This intriguing Saison is a collaborative effort between Goose Island’s Clybourn brewpub, Chuck Sudo from Chicagoist and Rodrick Markus of Rare Tea Cellar.

The beer was brewed using Rare Tea Cellar’s Emperor’s Meritage Lemon tea. Chuck wrote extensively about the brew process HERE and HERE, although here is a snippet;

“From the first time I sampled the lemon meritage tea, I had an idea for a take on a shandy, only with some character and heft. I thought a saison spiced with the tea could be a great summer beer, coming in at around 7-8 percent ABV, but with that lemon flavor it would go down like a session beer.”

This is what Goose Island had to say about the finished product:

This beer is as advertised and as intended.  You do get a ton of citrus and lemon AND it is rather sessionable despite having a somewhat high ABV.

The Sai-Shan-Tea, as you can see above, poured a very vibrant orange in color with a few fingers of white, fluffy head that slowly dissipated leaving a sticky ring around the inside of the glass .  Dip your nose in and you get a huge whiff of lemon, a bit of spice and some orange peel.  So far so good.

The taste is very interesting.  You get a lot of the lemon but it is different than any other lemon flavored beer I’ve had.  It’s not quite like a shandy, not as sweet, rather more of a spicy lemon flavor.  I’m not sure if that is from the tea used or the spices of the Saison – or both.  Either way it works.  I’m honestly kind of floored by this.  The lemon and the tea really do stand out and make a bold statement.  It’s not overpowering, but it is definitely noticeable and pretty enjoyable.

This beer had solid carbonation and was a bit creamy too making for a very easy drinking Saison.  It would be a piece of cake to put a few of these back in one sitting. No prob.

This was a well done collab and a very interesting twist on an already enjoyable style.

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About the Author



Equal parts beer nerd and policy geek, Ryan is now the curator of the Guys Drinking Beer cellar. The skills he once used to dig through the annals of state government as a political reporter are now put to use offering unique takes on barrel-aged stouts, years-old barleywines and 10 + year verticals.

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