I find that when I drink craft beer, my preferred style shifts. In my early days of craft beer exploration it was Pilsners. Then I went to Flat Earth, and the Era of Porters began! Wild Sours, Oak Barrel, Scotch Ales, and so forth and on forth. Well then came 2014, and for me the season of Saisons began.
Saisons are one of the great spring seasonals. While some look for the merry red robin to come bop, bop, boppin’ along, I look for this hazy effervescent elixir to come bub, bub, bubblin’ along. So don’t go into the wilds of your local craft brew shop without arming yourself with the below information:
When pouring a good Saison, expect colors to fall between a soft straw color, to the rare pale orange. Best served in a tulip glass, this beer should pour with a pillowy, but quick dissipating head. The beer should have a notable hop presence, but not on the same pungency of a pale ale. The spicy, and peppery notes are the trademark flavor you should pick up on first sip. Some Saisons come with a floral flavor as well, while others have more of an earthy secondary flavor. Over all these flavors should trump the malt and the hops flavors this beer gives off. Saisons tend to have a light mouthfeel and should finish dry with a quick disappearing after taste.
The word Saison stems from the French word for “season”. The beer itself stems from the Farm House style of beers that originate from the French speaking areas of Belgium. They were generally brewed by farmers to help refresh the seasonal help needed to run the farms of the days. These days the Saison has become somewhat of a symbol in the American Craft Beer culture. Many breweries here offer their own takes on the Saison without the strict style restrictions put upon European breweries.
Great Saisons to Try:
My Top Choices:
- Farm Girl Saison -Lift Bridge Brewing (Stillwater, MN)
- Say What? Saison -Kalona Brewing (Kalona, IA)
- Saison Dupont -Dupont Brewing (Belgum)
Other Great Saisons:
- Saison Nourrice -Harriet Brewing (Minneapolis, MN)
- The Expat -Fulton Brewing (Minneapolis, MN)
- Ommegang Hennepin -Ommegang Brewing (Cooperstown, NY)
So if you are looking for a great spring seasonal to kick off the warmer weather, look no further than the Saison.
Did we miss your favorite Saison? Let us know what your favorite is by leaving a comment below. Prost!