Community Beer Works, the West Side nano-brewers, operate a tight window at their tasting room. Usually the Lafayette Avenue brewery's retail side is open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. If you can make it then, you can enjoy full pint pours and growler fills, but sometimes these hours don’t fit into my schedule.
CBW is also operating a satellite brewery at Hydraulic Hearth in Larkinville, but a go-to spot in the Southtowns for CBW beers is Elm Street Bakery in East Aurora. Yes, the place with the delectable bakery counter, bustling lunch crowd and top-notch dinner service coming out of their wood oven.
An often overlooked part of the Elm Street experience is their beer program. Like much of their menu, the beers are locally influenced, with most taps pouring Western New York brewed craft beer and cider.
[See a photo gallery from Community Beer Works' 1,000th batch party]
At least one tap, and oftentimes more, are devoted to Community Beer Works. From their flagship pale ale, Frank, to their brown ale, The Whale, the rotation of CBW options is often changing there, including the rarer kegs of their Singularity IPA series and seasonal favorites. The beer to grab right now at Elm Street is the Community Beer Works Saison #3.
A style that has its origins as a beer of the workers on Belgian farms in the 1800s, saisons are quite refreshing. Saison #3 is golden color and quite cloudy, with a light, fluffy stark-white head. Fruitiness abounds in the aroma of the beer with a tinge of spiciness. Lemons, pears, peaches all pour out of the glass with a touch of clove. Sometimes saisons can exhibit strong farmhouse character, which can smell quite simply, like a barn. With CBW Saison #3, it’s more about the fruity notes of the yeast.
The citric lemon notes come through in the flavor as well, along with pears, and some light grassy, earthy taste. These flavors come first, followed by grainy cracker like malt flavors, then finished off with a touch of tartness. The beer has a bracing finish that ends with a drying acidity that leaves your palate eager for another sip, not bogged down encapsulated in hop resins or full bodied maltiness.
This is what also makes saisons, and Saison #3, so versatile with food. The fruity, spicy character can accent and complement other flavors, while the effervescence can cleanse the taste buds for another adventurous bite of beer and food pairing. Two dishes that paired beautifully with Saison #3 on my recent visit to Elm Street Bakery, were the roasted carrot salad and the roasted romanesco with romesco sauce.
Eager to taste the next latest and greatest from Community Beer Works and can’t make it down to the brewery? Elm Street Bakery is the Southtowns hub for CBW beers, and Saison #3 should be your next choice alongside lunch or dinner.
Community Beer Works Saison #3 at Elm Street Bakery, 72 Elm Street, East Aurora, NY 14052
Matt Kresconko also writes about beer as Buffalo Brewhound at wnycraftbeer.com. Follow him on Twitter @BfloBrewHound.