Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales is a "gypsy brewer" who travels the world making beer with friends from Denmark to Belgium and Baltimore, where he co-owns the restaurant Of Love and Regret.
There are a dozen of Stillwater's style-bending creations at that home base, with brews using hyssop, green peppercorns, and spelt.
A production shift to a contract brewery in Connecticut last year has significantly increased availability of some of Stillwater's core saison-style beers, including the (fantastic) canned Classique and my current favorite, Cellar Door.
An elegant take on witbier with a creaminess from its grain (lots of wheat and oats), it is also refreshingly dry with saison yeast and citrusy hops. The most distinctive note, though, is an herbal finish of white sage that laces this beer together with a balanced complexity that is as beautiful as its name.
- Craig LaBan
Stillwater Artisanal Ales Cellar Door, $3.65 a 12-ounce bottle ($12 for a 4-pack) at Local 44 Bottleshop, 4331 Spruce St.; $47.95 a case at Bella Vista Beer Distributor, 755 S. 11th St.