All Access Exclusive

Recipe: Keeping Together Thoughts Without a Thinker

This mixed-culture saison with oranges, Earl Grey tea, and saffron scored a 99/100 with our blind panel and delighted our editorial team, who named it one of their Best 20 Beers in 2023.

Averie Swanson Apr 8, 2024 - 6 min read

Recipe: Keeping Together Thoughts Without a Thinker Primary Image

All Access Subscribers can download the Beersmith and BeerXML version of this recipe. Subscribe today.

From Averie Swanson’s Keeping Together in Sante Fe, New Mexico, here is a recipe for one of the tastiest and most fascinating beers we had all year—a saison that gets a juicy orange addition and more ethereal qualities contributed by Earl Grey tea, a pinch of saffron, and a mixed-culture fermentation. Our blind review panel scored it 99/100, and our editorial team—after blindly tasting hundreds of finalists—named it one of our Best 20 Beers in 2023.

In Kate Bernot’s recent feature on brewing for rustic character, Swanson shares some of her thoughts: “Rusticity is very much a textural thing when it comes to beer,” she says. “For me, texture creates friction. If I think about that as a more esoteric concept, it’s creating this tension between the raw material and the palate that is experiencing it. Something rustic and textured has a [few] more raw edges, a little more character. So, when you experience it, you’re like, ‘What is this thing I’m rubbing up against, and how does it make me feel?’ ... The very act of inadvertently slowing someone down because they consumed something that makes them ask, ‘What exactly is that flavor?’ and going back for that second or third sip … [that] very simple action and feedback loop is exactly what I’m looking to create in my beers. When it does click for people, and they can connect the friction of their sensory experience with the raw materials that created it, it’s a beautiful thing.”

Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.045
FG: 1.002
IBUs: 18
ABV: 5.7%

Get 7 Days of Free Access

This article requires an 'All Access Subscription' to view. Subscription includes unlimited access to every brewing course (80+), article, video (75+), magazine issue (50+), and more. After the free trial you'll be charged $99.99/year unless you cancel. View all subscription options.