St. Louis-based Perennial Artisan Ales has a different spin on single hop beer, eschewing the traditional pale ale or IPA base for its Prism Series of hop-focused saisons. The brewery uses “a simple grist and favorite Belgian yeast strain” to craft Prism dry-hopped saison thrice yearly, focusing on one or two hop varietals in each offering. When I saw Prism: Mosaic on the shelf, I knew this was the perfect introduction to the series from the acclaimed Gateway City brewer.
Prism: Mosaic pours surprisingly clear from its eye-catching magenta can. For a dry-hopped beer brewed with flaked wheat—two common ways hazy IPAs achieve some of their haze—Prism: Mosaic is a remarkably clear, straw yellow. The clarity and color, combined with plenty of rising bubbles and a just-the-right-size frothy cap, makes for a beer that looks extremely thirst-quenching.
As soon as I cracked the can, the sweet smell of Mosaic hops filled the air. Mango, pineapple, guava, grass, and pine really sing. Underneath that wave of Mosaic aroma, I can find a few of the more typical saison notes of sweet banana, yeast, pepper, and a touch of funk. Prism: Mosaic smells like someone started a Belgian brewery on a tropical fruit farm—a combination I’d love to find in the real world.
While brewers often turn to pale ales for their single hop beers, Perennial shows that a saison may be even a more apt platform for a hop showcase.”
Prism: Mosaic grabs some of the best qualities from a juice-bomb IPA and pairs it with the familiar flavors of a Belgian-style saison. The tropical fruit flavor makes a big splash at the beginning of each sip, but, after dominating the aroma, it quickly fades in the taste. That quick spike of tropical fruitiness gives way to banana, clove, and pepper. But I find myself missing some of the funkiness I love in a saison or farmhouse beer, if only because it could clean up what becomes an increasingly sweet stack of fruit flavors.
While brewers often turn to pale ales for their single hop beers, Perennial shows that a saison may be even a more apt platform for a hop showcase. Its saison base could be steered a little more towards the grassy, funky side for my taste, but the juicy tropical hop flavors undoubtedly mix well with a Belgian-style beer. But Prism: Mosaic does more than enough to make me grab the brewery’s next seasonal dry-hopped saison, and hopefully it also stirs the imagination of other brewers that are interested in featuring hops on a new canvas.