We drink barley wines in the winter, lagers in the summer, märzens in the fall, and the spring belongs to saisons. No beer is better suited for springtime like the saison. Embodying a bouquet of flavors and aroma, saisons are blooming with the season. Quite possibly one of the most diverse beers in style, saisons range in the flavor spectrum from fruity to spicy to downright barnyard. It’s this complexity that have saison reigning true to the Belgian style.
There might be some confusion when it comes to the difference between a farmhouse ale and a saison. While different breweries may have their preference in term, the words are interchangeable for the style. Farmhouse is more so a reference to the birth of the style.
The term saison is French for season, which is exactly what these beers are – seasonal. Traditionally, saisons were brewed in cooler weather months to withstand the lengths of the hot summer. Their rustic roots began in the French-speaking region Wallonia, Belgium. There, saisons were brewed not as they are today for leisurely drinking, but rather out of necessity. Saisons – or farmhouse ales – were given to harvesters – saisoniers – as fruits of their labor.
Each farm in the region made their own brew. Often these farmhouse ales consisted of the farm’s crops that weren’t good enough to make it to the table. It’s this variation in traditional ingredients that leant a range of flavors to the style.
While saisons today may be more robust than in the older days, they’re done in celebration of the style. In honor of the spring, here are 7 saisons that are a must-have this season.
1. Great Divide Colette
Location: Denver, CO
Great Divide pumps out some tasty beers, and Colette is no exception. Using four different yeast strains, there is more to this beer than meets the eye. One sip, and a fruitiness accompanied by a subtle tartness lingers on the tongue.
Unlike most saisons, Colette is also packing the heat at 7.3 percent alcohol by volume. An ode to the first saisoners, Colette is available to the saison imbiber year-round.
2. Modern Times Lomaland
Location: Point Loma, CA
If sunshine could be trapped in a can, then Lomaland would be it. One refreshing sip of Lomaland and you may feel the need to lay on a beach or lounge in a hammock all day. Named after the first location of Modern Time’s Brewery – Point Loma, CA – Lomaland is most certainly a bright rustic saison.
The complex ale is well balanced with light hops and subtle fruit notes. Refreshing, delightful, and incredibly tasty, it’s hard not to drink Lomaland all day. And just like the sun in San Diego County, this beer is offered year-round.
3. Boojum Brewing Company Mur
Location: Waynesville, NC
Slightly tart, fruity, and waiting to be plucked off the shelf, the Boojum itself could not pass up a succulent can or Mur. While some flavored saisons can come off as having one note, that’s not the case for this raspberry saison.
Let it linger on your tongue a moment and you’ll notice subtle notes of earth and spice that compliment the lush raspberry. This is exactly what you would want from a raspberry saison. Lap it up while you can, because Mur is only available during spring and summer.
4. Ommegang Hennipen
Location: Cooperstown, NY
Bags of orange peel, ginger, coriander, and grains of paradise are ready for the kettle! Hennepin's in the brewhouse today. . . #ommegang #breweryommegang #hennnepin #ommeganghennepin #saison #hennepinsaison . . #orangepeel #coriander #ginger #grainsofparadise #gop #orange #beer #craftbeer #brew #brewhouse
Ommegang is not shy when it comes to Belgian style beers. In fact, that’s precisely what they do. So you know a saison like Hennepin is going to be good.
Pouring a beautiful golden color, Hennepin has well balanced notes of ginger coriander, and orange peel. Crisp and complex, sip the bottle slowly because the 7.7 percent ABV has a way of sneaking up on you.
5. The Bruery Saison Rue
Location: Placentia, CA
Breathing in the changing of the saisons. • • • #youseewhatididthere @warpedcigars @thebruery #smallbatchcigars #boutiquecigars #cigarporn #nowsmoking #thebruery #craftbeer #craftbrewery #saison #saisonrue #placentia #nowdrinking #cigarnoise #craftnotcrap #brett #warpedcigars #lahacienda #eatdrinkandbemerry #beerporn
The Bruery is not shy when it comes to crafting creative beers. Each beers is brewed with dedication, care, and finesse. Anything you pop is going to be quality, which is all the more reason to pop open a bottle of Saison Rue.
Slightly different than what you may find out of a can, Saison Rue is an unfiltered bottle conditioned ale. So don’t be surprised at the cloudy, yeasty quality. When the beer is fresh, its spicy, fruity notes accompanied by a biscuit malt backbone shine through. Overtime however, it changes with age into a more complex saison. By a bottle, or two, and see for yourself.
6. The Lost Abbey Carnevale
Location: San Marcos, CA
Here's a repost from the Mothership @lostabbey back in San Marcos. We've got the goods here too! Come by tonight or anytime this weekend! Happy Friday! #Repost @lostabbey with @repostapp ・・・ Mark your calendars for our free(if you wear a mask) Carnevale De Masquerade Party, February 25th! Admission otherwise is $10 and it all kicks off at 6pm. And in the meantime, start this weekend's festivities off with the most fitting of craft beers- Carnevale, our Brett Saison is now available in both San Marcos and @thelostabbeycardiff! #TheLostAbbey #cardiffbythesea #TheConfessional #sdbeer #craftbeer #carnevale #tgif
Ah, Carnevale. From a brewery that is synonymous with Brettanomyces, comes this saison that is like a religious experience. Actually, Carnevale was brewed in celebration of Lent and Easter so its exceptional quality is as to be expected.
The yeast is prominent with each sip, yet it doesn’t mask the citrus notes that come through. Complex and deep, Carnevale is a saison to be savored.
7. Brasserie Dupont Saison Dupont
Location: Tourpes, Belgium
You can’t have a conversation about saisons without discussing Saison DuPont. It’s the quintessential example of the style. This classic saison has been around the block for quite some time now – since 1844 to be exact.
What began in the farm-brewery of Brasserie Dupont now provides the guidelines of the saison style when it comes to beer judging. Pouring a coppery blonde, Saison Dupont has an earthiness to it with a rather apparent yeast funk. If you are going to try only one saison this season, then make it a Dupont.
What’s your favorite saison? Let us know!