(ROCKWALL, TX — April 29, 2019) Many beer styles have interesting origins, but none have a story quite like saison. Saison is a Belgian style from the French speaking region of Wallonia. Saison translates to “season” in English. Traditionally home brewed on farms in the winter, fermented and aged during the colder months, then brought out during the spring and summer months for the farm hands and farmers to quench their thirst after laboring in the fields. These farmhands were called Les Saisonniers or “Seasonal Workers”.
The farmers used whatever local ingredients they had on the farm including their own malted grain. Many of these farms often worked together by sharing ingredients or blending their final beers. Historically these beers were lower in alcohol than many of the modern saisons at about 3.5 – 4 percent abv. They needed a beer that would be safe to drink, thirst quenching, provide some nourishment, but still allow the workers to continue working throughout the day. After WWI, the farm was modernized, the seasonal workers were no longer needed and the beer style migrated into what it is today, 6 – 9 percent abv. Many of these popular Belgium farms turned into breweries.
Because of the homebrew nature of these beers, the ingredients varied wildly from interesting spices to alternative fruits and grains. The saison is one of the most varied and open to interpretation styles of beer you will find. So what does a saison look/smell/taste like? The benchmark for this style is Saison Dupont from Belgium. Another great saison is Funkwerks Saison from Colorado. This beer has won several medals in competition and is considered a very good American interpretation. Saison is typically lighter in color but can approach light amber or orange. It is rustic, fruity, spicy, versatile, light in body and must have a dry finish. Common hop varieties used are Opal or Saaz. These tend to impart spicy or peppery notes. The most important thing to make your saison pop is the yeast strain. The correct yeast will impart a spicy peppery yeast character that when mixed with the above hops and the dry finish will produce a refreshing brew that was once known as: The beer of the people. Swing by Beer Geeks this season and try the original homebrewed beer.
Jason Roe, Beer Geek
Beer Geeks is a craft beer bottleshop located in downtown Rockwall. We have over 275 craft beers from all over the world. Everything is organized by style and priced as singles, so you can build a custom pack out of anything, everything in the store. Where it’s okay to geek out about beer! BeerGeeksShop.com. This is a sponsored guest column appearing monthly in Blue Ribbon News and online at BlueRibbonNews.com.
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