New Beer Alert: Traditional Belgian Saison

Belgian SaisonNew Beer Alert: Traditional Belgian Saison

Rochester has just tapped a traditional Belgian Saison. It features prominent fruity esters with light notes of bubblegum and spice. A dry finish with light bitterness keeps it light and refreshing.

A Little Saison Background

Saisons originated with Belgian farmers who created their own ale to enjoy and share with seasonal farm workers, known as “saisonniers.” Saisons typically were brewed from winter to early spring, ready to be consumed during harvest time – from May to September. These Saisons, often made with winter barley and malt, had a rustic character and could vary greatly depending on the type and quality of grains used. Because of the wide range of “mixed” yeast used, traditional Saisons often developed a refreshing sourness during secondary fermentation. Wood cask conditioning could add further complexity due to wild yeasts whose natural habitat was wood.

Today’s Saisons

Today, craft brewers embrace Saisons for their variety, often experimenting with the addition of different fruits and spices to create uniquely original beers. But even without the addition of orange peels, ginger, coriander or other spices, the production of phenols during fermentation at warm temperatures can give Saisons a spicy character. 

We think this poem “The Beer of Spring” by R.A.G. Seely sums up our affection for Saisons rather well:

The Beer of Spring

by R.A.G. Seely

When cold afflicts, I drink coffee

I’d sooner be sipping

Something fizzy and frothy

Saison, the beer of spring

 

Typic’lly unfiltered and pale

With tiny life teaming

Referred to as “farmhouse ale”

Saison, the beer of spring

 

Sorachi Ace has champagne yeast

To confer extra zing

A colorful liquid feast

Saison, the beer of spring

 

Tradit’nally a summer drink

Not thick but thirst-quenching

Perfect for the prime, I think

Saison, the beer of spring

 

Revivial issues from Ipswich

Perfumy, peach-tasting

With a touch of rye enriched

Saison, the beer of spring

 

The beer’s light body may beguile

Its power surprising

Most id’osyncratic style

Saison, the beer of spring

 

Foolproof brews up La Ferme Urbaine

Pungent and engaging

Ale world’s answer to champagne

Saison, the beer of spring

 

Not long ago, nearly extinct

It’s back now — and booming

Identity still distinct

Saison, the beer of spring

 

It’s balmy like orange blossom

Robust yet refreshing

Born in French-speaking Belgium

Saison, the beer of spring

 

When the last loitering snow melts

I’ll be there, imbibing

A potion with rye and spelt

Saison, the beer of spring

 

Stop by one of our taprooms to try “The Beer of Spring” or one of our other craft brews soon. Cheers!

  1. Kenji says:

    Your saison sounds delicious, and if I ever encounter it I will surely try it.

    I’m bored stiff with IPAs and would love to see saisons become fashionable again.

    Some of the examples of saison R.A.G. Seely refers to in his lyric have, tragically, been retired.

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