For every season a beer and a beer for every season.
Much the same way that gin becomes the potable du jour from mid-June on through early September, lighter beers have recently come to monopolize my fridge’s shelf space. These are not light beers in the sense that they bear the “light” (or worse “lite”) descriptor at the end of their names, rather they are brighter in all ways than the beers that I consume during the rest of the year. Simply put, Winter has stouts, summer has saisons. Of course, just because these ales are more airy does not mean that they are any less potent, in fact most saisons clock in around six to seven percent alcohol (although historically this figure was much lower.)
This ABV punch is hardly the most noteworthy facet of a saison though, and most saisons would be classified as airy rather than dense in anyway. I say “most” because it’s difficult to pinpoint the typical characteristics of a saison. Saisons were originally brewed during the winter and enjoyed by Belgian farm-workers all summer long. Back then, they were allowed to consume over ten pints a day as they worked the farm, and so these effervescent ales were ideal beverage for those balmy summer months. These recipes varied from farm to farm, but they were all highly carbonated, fruity, and packed a solid spice kick. In a way, the taste of a saison mirrors these farm-workers lush surroundings, and while saisons fell out of favor over the years, they have returned with force as part of America’s rising craft brewery movement. Nowadays, and particularly during this time of year, these buoyant brews can be found with greater frequency and variety than ever before. Here are a few of our favorites to bring a taste of the farm into your fridge and give you one last taste of summer.
Saison Dupont – The authentic original.
Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace – Belgium by way of Brooklyn.
Evil Twin Ryan And The Beaster Bunny – A ridiculous name for a ridiculously good beer.
Ommegang Hennepin – The other great thing to come out of Cooperstown, NY.
Boulevard Brewing Tank 7 – Nice and crisp but with an 8.5% ABV, it’ll sneak up on you in a hurry.
Bruery Saison Rue – A classic saison blended with a citrusy West Coast style.
21st Amendment Sneak Attack – Because when all else fails, just take it in the can.