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“This beer isn't really like anything else we brew.”

Sophisticated Lady, the Redux

Girl loses boy.
Girl is still dancing in the same restaurant.

Sounds like the plot of Copacabana that we told you about when we released Cococabana, right? Duke Ellington’s classic, Sophisticated Lady, is essentially the same story.

This weird collision in music notwithstanding, there’s nothing similar about the two beers. Cococabana is a delicious Pale Ale. Sophisticated Lady, on the other hand, is a delicious Table Saison brewed with exclusively locally-sourced Rabbit Hill malts.

And it’s just in time to celebrate our exclusive beer sponsorship of the Exit Zero Jazz Festival!

IMG_6057So, the name is back, but the beer is quite different. We’d released a Witbier called Sophisticated Lady for the Exit Zero Jazz Festival in the past, but we’ve been trying to switch it up. Last year, we released Harmonic Rhythm, a cocktail-inspired, lime and ginger Belgian ale.

This year, when we were throwing out ideas for the schedule, the Sales team wanted to do a Table Saison, and it made sense to bring it out for spring.

“When we were placing the various beers into potential time slots,” says Innovation Director Brian Hink, “it made way too much sense to place the Table Saison sometime in the spring and have it come out around Jazz Fest cause we always do a beer for that.”

Choosing a name for this brew was precarious, as well. Nothing felt right, and a name like “Sophisticated Lady” was a little too good for us to completely retire.

However, this Lady is slightly more sophisticated than in years past.

“She’s a little more refined,” Brian says.

The original Sophisticated Lady was designed to be our first summer seasonal, but with Summer Catch on tap, that idea fell by the wayside over the past few years. It was originally conceived to have a broad appeal, with a moderately higher ABV, a touch more body, a clean and approachable grain bill, and a sparing touch of hops.

“This year, the flavors are a little more nuanced, a little more delicate,” Brian says. “It is, after all, a Table Saison.”

We brewed this Table Saison with pilsner, oats, wheat, and rye, locally sourced from Rabbit Hill in Shiloh.

JF202864“Their malting has this really distinctive rustic underlying earthiness to it that pairs perfectly with Saisons,” Brian says. “It’s clean, and we’ve had great success using it in clean beers like Maize Haze and Maybe She’s Brewed with It, but it’s just tailor-made to be part of a Saison grain bill.”

The Simcoe and Hallertau Blanc hops bring an enticingly assertive bitterness, a perfect complement to the yeast strain in Sophisticated Lady.

“We used my favorite Belgian Saison strain,” Brian says, “the classic Saison DuPont strain that is notoriously fickle and can be a pain in the ass to use, but I just love the characteristics this yeast strain brings to the table, so I’ll deal with the hassle of it. The ester profile and peppery finish really paired beautifully off the Blanc.”

The Hallertau Blanc — as the name may suggest — tends to bring some white-wine flavors to the brew.

“A white wine drinker will definitely enjoy this,” Brian says. “It’s super dry and effervescent, but it’s obviously a little more balanced due to the hops.”

JF202752The result is a brew that is citrusy, snappy, and bright, perfect for spring. Lively, sessionable, and zesty, you’ll want to quaff a few while kicking back to your favorite jazz tune.

“This beer isn’t really like anything else we brew,” says Lab Manager Lauren Appleman. “To me, the aroma is very reminiscent of bubble gum followed by an appealing peppery spice. The low, 4.2% ABV makes this a great session beer to have while kicking back to listen to some great music.”

Brian’s a little bummed that he’ll be missing Jazz Fest this year.

“Unfortunately, I’ll be traveling back from CBC out in Denver on Friday and probably attending Yard’s Real Ale Fest in Philly on Sunday,” he says, “so I’m gonna need Saturday to relax and do laundry, get back to the real world, so on and so forth. But the lineup looks stellar, and I’m super bummed to be missing Preservation Hall.”

Sophisticated Lady releases on Friday from the Tasting Room, and will be at all of the club venues of the Exit Zero Jazz Festival: Cabanas, Iron Pier, Carney’s, and the Rusty Nail.

Don’t miss out! You can still get your Cape May Brewing Company Hops Pass!