Far Removed

Brewery and Country of Origin: Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project of PO Box 426037, Cambridge, MA, 02142, USA

Date Reviewed: 4-26-14

Adhering to a strict beer style is something that most breweries take a great deal of pride in. But for others, it's straying away from these established frameworks that makes them special. In fact, there are some breweries that actively avoid brewing anything of an established architecture, including Cambridge's Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, whose flagship brew is known as Jack D'Or (pronounced "door"). This is also the contract brewery's first release, having been introduced to the market at the end of 2008. Jack D'Or is named after the contract brewery's mascot, Jack D'Or, a single anthropomorphic malted barley grain that is, as the brewery states, "the unifying force behind all of the Pretty Things." According to Pretty Things' website, the inspiration for this beer came from the founders' honeymoon trip to France and Belgium, where they enjoyed Wallonian style beers under the stars while they camped. This particular beer was also inspired by a few "local" American examples like Smuttynose's IPA. And in that way, this is a bit of a saison and IPA, hybrid, which delivers the fresh, crispness of a floral farmhouse, and the expected bitterness of a robust pale ale. Interestingly enough, this beer also contains a bit of yeast and wheat notes typically found in many lighter warm weather Belgium style beers, so really, this beer is a bit of all things spring and summer. And in Pretty Things fashion, all of that makes it a bit difficult to label. But to us, this is what small brewing operations are all about. Essentially, not caring about established conventions and basically doing what you want. This beer, though influenced by various widely accessible brews like Saison DuPont, the end result resembles little of its origins, and that's the way it should be.
Date Sampled: 2-21-14 (11-21-13 original) At: 7 Prescott Place, Allston, Boston, MA 02134, USA
Beer Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 6.40%
Serving Type: 22 oz Bottle, 16 oz Glass
Rating: 3.42


Jack D'Or has a fairly choppy pour with a medium high amount of carbonation action, producing a two thirds inch tall foam head with a good amount of density, a medium low retention rate, a somewhat bubbly champagne appearance, and a nearly white color. This beer exhibits full lacing on the glass. There is a golden bright color with a nearly fully clear appearance slightly hazed by a very small amount of extremely fine sediment particles which do not settle. This beer also shows an above average effervescent effect.


This beer's aroma, like the aromas of many lighter ales, contains a good amount of mild pale malty notes including a somewhat strong graininess. This beer also has a prominent bitter note coming from crisp, floral hops which also includes a fairly soapy undertone. Along with that is a noticeable amount of yeast with some strong citrus and coriander undertones and a subtle sweet fruity banana accompaniment. This beer has no nuttiness, no alcohol tinge, no metallic smell, and is average in strength overall.


This is a medium light bodied brew with a fairly high amount of carbonation, a below average viscosity, and a low weight, making this an airy, crisp, and easy to drink beer suitable for the summer months. This beer finishes very dry with a crisp and refreshing linger, and a fairly prevalent cooling effect. This beer contains no alcohol bite, and has a fairly light feel overall with no texture from the extremely fine sediment particles.


This is a very fruity beer with mostly bitter floral hops dominated by fruity lemon and orange like flavors along with a clean, crisp dryness throughout. This beer also contains a strong very pale malty secondary with a good amount of lager like grainy notes and a small amount of balancing sweetness. There is not much depth to the malts used here. Some banana and yeasty notes are present, as well as a slight acidity toward the dry finish with a lingering bitter aftertaste.

Our Take

As you would imagine, this is a very good beer for the warm months coming up. Fortunately, this is also a year round flagship which couldn't care less about conventional wisdom, so if you're living in a part of the world where winter is still very much lingering (it's 41 in Boston today), feel free to add a bit of fermented potpourri to your weekend libations lineup. This is a light, crisp beer which offers a great fruity and aromatic experience which is very easy to drink and unforgiving in no aspect. This is also a complex, yet well balanced beer which delivers on the promise of a variety of a range of flavors and characteristics from a range of styles, like an IPA's hoppy bitterness, a Belgian's yeast and wheat notes, and a spring or summer seasonal's crispness. This is a light beer that pairs well with sweeter dishes, and lighter meals, but more importantly, this beer pairs best with the sun and sand.