Once again, I'm popping the tab on a beer that will only be around for a limited time, so let's get to it.
Hand of Fate Brewing, a two-year old microbrewery in downstate Petersburg, near Springfield, won a competition at last year's Illinois State Fair for the title of the state's official Bicentennial Beer. The beer is a saison, or farmhouse ale, featuring staple Illinois crops including corn, wheat and oats. The crystal hops are grown by Hallowed Hops of Lewistown, and fermented with a hybrid saison yeast developed by Omega Yeast Labs of Chicago. The beer has been "brewed up" for statewide distribution by Destihl, and is distributed by Breakthru Beverage during the the Bicentennial year of 2018. I found this at Jewel in Lemont, when they were fresh-roasting Hatch Chiles during a recent weekend.
The beer pours a nice "beer" nose, like a clean lager. The beer itself is a slightly hazy yellow, under a sudsy white head.
The taste is an interesting, complex saison beer, all right. The corn shows in its sweetness, I think. Saison yeast and a likely warm fermentation give it a note of bubblegum and spice, which also plays up on the wheat in the malt bill. It's a more complex brew to be sure.
The farmhouse style would not have been in Illinois in 1818—not much barley for malting. But plenty of fruit, especially apples for cider, and grains for making whiskey. But a traditional style fits nicely with a commemorative beer for a historical celebration.