Photo: John Storey/The Chronicle
There is a new restaurant in Jackson Ward where the beer flows like wine. No, I am being serious. Saison (23 W Marshall) is serving beers in a manner that you would expect from a wine bar.
One of the owners is a certified Cicerone which is a French term for beer geek. Keep in mind that I do not speak French and totally just made that up.
To become a certified Cicerone, you have to complete a 1 minute keg stand, run a beer mile, and finish it off with Das Boot. Ha, just kidding, again. As far as I can tell from my incredible google skills, a Cicerone certification is similar to a sommelier in the wine world. Let us just say, the guy knows a lot about beer.
Not surprisingly, their beer list was made up of 12 beers I have never heard of. They even have printed on their dinner menus, “Please ask your server if you would like a beer paired with your meal”.
We didn’t opt for a pairing because we weren’t planning on eating, but I did put on my glasses to read the beer list. That is how you know things were serious.
My first beer was Guineu, ‘Riner’ listed on their menu as “rare unfiltered hoppy session beer from Spain”. I could have drunk a thousand glasses of that beer. I would describe the taste as I.P.A. flavored water. Can you tell from my expertly articulated description that I am not a Cicerone?
Evan had The Bruery, ‘Mischief’ which was printed on their menu as “spicy and hoppy Belgian style golden ale”. He also had a beer called ‘Peeper’. No, that is not a type-o, the beer was called peeper not pepper. It was kind of perfect for him. My second beer was a stout by the name of Perfect Crime, ‘Smoking Gun’. I thought it tasted more like a chocolate martini than a beer.
Once we got a look at the menu, we realized that they had several vegan options clearly noted. (I love when they do that.) We had a salad of roasted carrots, beets, red onion, frisee, and cornbread croutons in cumin vinaigrette, which was our favorite thing of the whole visit. We also ordered smoked oyster mushrooms, sautéed chard with a vegan cheese grit cake. Not our favorite thing.
Who knew that the bill for four beers and two small plates of vegetables would turn out to be $80. If I thought we would be spending that much money, I might have opted for one of their crafty cocktails instead. They wipe the rim of the glass with a rind, so you know they mean business.