As some of you may know, my infamous Instagram page, @hazzy_hunter was hacked not so long ago and I thought my ties with the craft beer world were over but just as I was wiping my tears away, my good mate Shaun sent me a message asking if I was keen on a bottle share night, which came with a pre-warning that we will be getting “properly barnyard funked” — ­­on saisons.

Prior to this I didn’t actually like saisons, I would avoid them at all costs but after pondering for a few minutes I realized that this was my ticket back into the craft beer scene, the chance to be relevant again when I walk through the doors of my local watering hole — but most of all, this was the perfect opportunity to get some interesting content that will set me apart from other beerfluencers.

After a few weeks of suspense, wondering what this bottle share night would entail, the night came around, I made a pit stop at my local liquor store to pick up a bottle that would impress the group but I also wanted to get something that I knew would be to my liking so naturally, I didn’t get a saison. Instead, I picked up a 750ml bottle of Duncan’s Brett Hazy IPA which I had heard rave reviews about.

I did the responsible thing and left my car keys at home, taking advantage of Auckland’s great public transportation system by jumping on a bus and then two more connecting buses before arriving at my destination in the central suburbs of Auckland.

After three knocks of the door I was granted entry to a room full of familiar and unfamiliar faces but what we all had in common was that we were all here to get “properly barnyard funked” and sitting on the bench were 16 green 750ml bottles of funky fluid which have travelled all the way from a brewery located in a stone farmhouse in Wallonia, Belgium, which goes by the name of Fantome Brewery, known for their complex, earthy and herbal flavored saisons and as a result, a cult following among lovers of craft beer worldwide.

After some chitter chatter, We all sat around the coffee table, with a UE boom creating a nice semi-upbeat vibe then our taste-master Shaun began to introduce us to our first saison of the evening which was the Fantome Blanche, which at 4.5% was the perfect ABV to get the palate wet. Shaun then decanted the bottle into a white ceramic teapot and began pouring conservative amounts of the beer into our tasting glasses and with a clink of our glasses and an out of sync “cheers” we all devoured our first sip of Fantome for the night and within seconds the funk hit me! It was slightly bitter, fruity and musty but somehow that unsavory combination kind of worked. The notes that my untrained palate detected consisted of fermented banana and yeast and this got me ready for the golden liquid that was lurking within bottle number two of the night.

bottle share
The bottle share in action

After consuming multiple glasses of Fantome with my favorite of the bunch being Dark Spiritus which was very similar to the Blanche but a bit toastier, I was properly toasted myself and I had consumed enough saisons to make an informed decision on this unique style of beer.

Now the real question is, am I rushing to change my Instagram handle to @saison_soldier? Absolutely not! Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed all 16 saisons that graced my lips, it was a new and exciting experience for me and my hazy palate and I really enjoyed it, and it definitely made me a more well-rounded and credible beer reviewer. But my obsession for opaque beers is as strong as ever and next time I’m looking at a beer menu I will be turning a blind eye to the saisons and going straight to the hazy IPAs because if I don’t do that, Nick the bartender will insist I try the latest hazy anyway!

Before I attended this bottle share evening, I thought that I would be entering with a bottle of beer and leaving with a slight buzz and a premature hangover, but that was not the case, I may have left with a slight buzz but I also left with new-found friends who all share the same passion for weird fermented liquids and questionable conversations! So next time you feel like being adventurous and social, why not organise a bottle share? Just don’t forget to invite me.