Artesian Negroni Saison
I tried the Negroni Saison by chance. I was on Portland Place visiting the guys at Quintessentially as part of my day-job, and thought I’d stop into The Langham’s Artesian Bar for lunch and a drink.
The Artesian is no layabout when it comes to drinks – named World’s Best Bar for 3 years in a row, no less. I did my usual mooching about the menu, and I actually think it was the guy serving me who recommended that I try their Negroni Saison.
The Negroni Saison was developed in partnership with Alex Kratena, the Artesian’s (former) head bartender and master-architect. I wouldn’t count myself as a beer purist – I like a good beer, but I don’t really get so involved in talking about hops and such. That being said, I can imagine that there are a number of purists out there who will spit out their small-batch beers in disgust at the idea of a red brew, made to emulate the bitter and botanical-heavy flavours of the Negroni cocktail.
They are all wrong, these purists. Wrong.
The Negroni Saison is a wonderful, different and challenging beer. It was served in a Bordeaux glass, filled with ice and a strip of orange peel. Being the Artesian, the ice cubes were spherical – the optimum shape for ice cubes, if you’re interested.
It’s a relatively strong beer at 6.5% ABV, and I actually think it benefits from the ice to soften the impact of the alcohol a bit, and allows the flavours to develop more fully. The Campari-esque profile really come through, too. You get this complex bitterness, and a real sense that Kratena and the Partizan team have taken the best Negroni and not tried to emulate it, but instead develop it, by building its flavours and integrating them with the bitterness associated with the beer.
There is one problem… I can’t actually work out whether it’s still being sold at the Artesian… and it doesn’t look like you can buy it direct from Partizan. So, if you can get hold of it, you’ll love it!
Partizan Brewers Artesian Negroni Saison