The Pretty Things Ale Project is not your typical brewery. It’s really not even a brewery. Pretty Things is basically just a guy with some happy helpers.

Dann Paquette has been brewing beer for almost 20 years, and from the looks of their marketing and any articles you can dredge up, he seems to be a pretty unique dude. The mustachioed brewmaster treks from Somerville, MA (where I  successfully found lodging and unsuccessfully dodged criminals, for almost 9 years) all the way down to the shores of Buzzard’s Bay in Westport, MA to brew Pretty Things. His trademark? Pushing our understanding of traditional beer styles.

Three of Dann’s beers have graced my fridge recently, and I loved two of them. First, let’s talk about the good. The Jack D’Or is an American style saison. For someone who’s just developing a taste for Belgian yeast funk, I found this beer to be extremely accessible. And Saint Botolph’s Town is easily the best English brown ale I’ve ever tasted. But don’t just take my word for it. The Baron has already expounded upon these tremendous offerings. He gives 4 hops for both, and who am I to argue? (I’m nobody to argue. That’s who.)

I’ll focus, rather, on the not-so-fantastic selection from Pretty Things: the Field Mouse’s Farewell.

I poured the beer into a slender pilsner glass. The unfiltered beverage presented with cloudy gold highlights and a rapidly-dissipating finger-thick head. The lacing is plentiful, with minuscule specks coating the glass. Now, similar to the Jack D’Or, Field Mouse is supposed to be a saison. Think farmhouse funk. But now think about Farmhouse Funk with citrus hops up the wazoo. In fact, the mouthfeel is so light, and the citrus is so amped up, that this farmhouse saison actually starts to taste like a light an imported lager. And I don’t really like light lager imports, because they don’t taste like much. In the beer’s defense, there are some subtle malty notes, but not enough to really notice. Perhaps my palette just isn’t refined enough to appreciate this one. Or perhaps it really isn’t all that pretty.

So, it’s interesting. On the one hand, Dann Paquette has done exactly what he wanted to: that is, he’s pushed our understanding of what a saison farmhouse ale should be. On the other hand, he’s done so in the name of a rather pedestrian flavor profile.

So, nice job, I guess. Job well done. Although you won’t see me going out of my way to purchase another bomber of Field Mouse’s Farewell. I give this one 2.5 hops, and look forward to future offerings from Mr. Paquette.

Lord Copperpot

2 thoughts on “THREE PRETTY THINGS

  1. The Field Mouse was where Paquette kind of lost me as well. Slouch Sixpack and I split a bomber in Florida this summer and we were both tremendously underwhelmed. I generally enjoy Saisons…and there are lots of good American examples (Ommegang Hennepin, Bruery Saison Rue, Boulevard Tank 7), but I thought the Field Mouse was, quite honestly, a lousy beer. Even weirder considering that the Jack D’Or is delicious…so clearly Paquette knows his way around a Saison.

    That being said, the St. Botolph and Baby Tree are both pretty good and I thought the 1832 Mild was outstanding. I love Paquette’s approach and whimsical, almost De Dolle-esque marketing. I just think his beers need some tweaking. But what do I know? All my homebrews taste like Band-Aids.

  2. I read a local article a few years back describing Paquette as one of the few “Celebrity Brewmasters”, someone that developed a reputation that will follow him wherever he goes (Like the Todd English of the beer world). I loved what he did with the Rapscallion brand in the early part of the decade so I was ecstatic when I saw this new Pretty Things project come about. I don’t even care if the beers taste good, which for the most part they do, I just care that he’s out there brewing cool shit and making it work for himself.

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