Beer styles continue to evolve. New subcategories are added every year. The good news is you don’t have to keep track of it all – leave that to the experts! All you need is to know enough about each of the major styles to help appreciate and share your knowledge when it comes to choosing your beer for the day. Today we will discuss the Saison…
History: The word “saison” means season in French and speaks to its intimate connection to the seasons. Saisons hail from the Wallonia region in Belgium, which covers the southern part of the country and borders northern France. This style was historically brewed in the cooler season and allowed to mature through the winter. This beer was an important mainstay for both the farmer and his seasonal summer workers, lending to the name “farmhouse ale.” They were unfiltered, bottle conditioned, and often quite heavily hopped because of the long storage times. US craft brewers brew them year-round and have taken to adding a variety of additional ingredients. Stateside brewers have also been playing around with Saison style/American IPA hybrids.
Profile: Words to describe a Saison would include crisp, complex, fruity, spicy, sour, light-bodied. This is a dry, bitter beer punctuated by yeast complexities. Specialty ingredients, including fruit spices, may contribute a unique and signature character. They are gold to light amber in color. A big, rocky, and long lasting head is common creating the iconic “Belgium lace” as it drops. For best flavor, serve this style in a stemmed tulip glass.
Food Pairings: Think warm weather foods… roasted chicken, arugula salad with goat cheese, grilled fish, shellfish, and charcuterie. Goes great with a cheese platter featuring Asiago, Colby, aged Chèvre, Fontina, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, or Triple Crème.
Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: somewhere between 4.4–8.4%
Let us know about your favorite beer style. We are always open to trying new beers!