Forget A Trip To Ikea, On Rotation’s Limited Edition Sahti Is Your New Lingonberry Jam.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on On Rotation’s Lingonberry Sahti.img_3620Fast Facts on On Rotation Lingonberry Sahti.
Style: Sahti (Historical Beer).
ABV: 3.8 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 1.
Color: Straw.
Availability: Limited release.

Overview.
It seems like it was just a short while ago that I learned about brewer Jonathan Daylett moving to On Rotation. I was reminded again of this news when I arrived at On Rotation this week to check out what sorts of goodies were left from the debauchery of North Texas Beer Week. I gotta be honest, I didn’t attend any of the events. And for that, I am sad – and a pariah? Regardless, this week represents that sweet spot where you can still get out there and drink some exceptional beers left over from NTBW. And now that Daylett is settling in, it looks like he’s getting to have some fun here!

Background on Sahti.
Sahti is an old-world style that has it origin in Finland. According to BJCP style guidelines, the Sahti is known for its moderate to high clove-like phenolics. The guidelines also state – several times — that this is not a sour beer. This beer is an unfiltered ale, with color ranging from pale yellow to dark brown. The flavor can have more complex wortiness — BJCP’s words – due to it not being boiled. Weird! Another no-boil style that immediately comes to mind is Berliner Weisse. Sahti is lowly-hopped, but some perceived bitterness can be picked up from juniper additions. Historical note: Lots of Northern European beers from back in the day – and before hops were used as the major bittering and aroma additions – used alternative ingredients like juniper and other evergreen types of plants. Brewers used materials that they had access to.

Honestly, I have not spent much time with the Sahti style. So I’m going to play it fast and loose with judging this beer to a strict interpretation of the style. After all, On Rotation earns some immediate points for going almost totally off the style grid with a modern interpretation of this old-world style.img_3636Appearance.
Lingonberry Sahti pours a medium straw-like color in to the glass. A fair amount of foam is present through the photos, then subsides into a thin ring of foam. This style is known to be a very cloudy style, and this beer fits the bill. From what the BJCP guidelines state, this beer is known for its long mash steep and little to no boil. So the hot break that normally forms and helps clear up some of the haze in a normal beer may not be in play with this beer. I wasn’t around while this beer was brewed, so I cannot speak to that hot break part on Lingonberry Sahti.

Aroma.
Lingonberry Sahti smells incredible. If a bartender sat this beer down in front of me and told me to give ‘er a sniff, I would tell you that this beer is made with super round, ripened passion fruit. Just behind the passion fruit notes, I get a little bit of evergreen bite. So I guess that the lingonberry is contributing this near-sour aroma, but edging just on the tart-ish sweet side like passion fruit.

Flavor.
Let’s continue this lingonberry talk! Lingonberry is an arctic sort of shrub that is native to the cold, scrubby bits of Northern Europe. The closest I have ever been to lingonberry is probably two clicks over from the horse meatballs, just past the checkout line at IKEA. And I mean lingonberry preserves, just so we’re clear. Never have I cooked or brewed with fresh lingonberry – it’s just not something I seek out or have available to me on the regular.img_3632Mouthfeel.
This beer tastes like a fuller-body beer, and it’s almost sneaky how low the ABV is here. I have to look back at the vitals to remind myself of this low ABV. It doesn’t drink hot; there’s no fusel situation. It drinks most like a table sour, with tartness but minus the sour. Except there’s a huge amount of round malt in the swallow. This beer is a true pleasure to drink. Carbonation remains on the high side through my entire pour; even the last few sips dance across my tongue with high carbonation.

Overall Impression.
Sometimes I feel hesitant to review a style that I know very little about. But that’s the challenge of trying new things, right? The Sahti style is not one that you will find. I rarely see it. So if you see a Sahti available somewhere here in the states, go for it! And if you see a Sahti style available in some craft bar in Northern Europe, go for it even more surely! Be warned, though, that On Rotation is brewing a variation on the theme here. There are a lot of traits stated in the BJCP guidelines that simply do not line up with Lingonberry Sahti. But because this is such a rarely-brewed style, On Rotation gets a huge pass on this one. The DFW beer scene is crowded, and it can be a challenge to offer a beer with a high novelty factor. But On Rotation knocks it out of the park with Lingonberry Sahti with its almost sour tartness, clean drinking experience and refreshing originality.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give On Rotation Lingonberry Sahti a 9.25.img_3624What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Thursday, November 24. Thanksgiving Brunch at Meddlesome Moth.
• Friday, November 25. Opening Weekend at HopFusion Ale Works.
• Saturday, November 26. Small Business Saturday at Community Beer Co.
• Saturday, November 26. Holiday Market at Lakewood Brewing Co.
• Saturday, December 3. One-Year Anniversary at Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery.
• Friday, December 9. Second Anniversary at Panther Island Brewing.
• Saturday, December 10. Three-Year Anniversary at Rabbit Hole Brewing.
• Saturday, December 17. Third Anniversary at Cobra Brewing Co.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Small Brewpub’s Black Pepper Pils: 8.5.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Prime Minister: 8.25.
Texas Ale Project 50 Ft. Jackrabbit: 8.
Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
3 Nations American Wit: 7.75.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Dapper Apple: 7.75.
Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
Backcountry’s Texas IPA: 7.
Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s Troll Toll: 5.5.
Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Martin House Cuvee Pumpkin Latte: 5.
Intrinsic’s Crunktoberfest: 5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Audacity’s Checkered Past: 4.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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