Winter is finally, mercifully over. We’re ready to take a break from big stouts and bracing IPAs and reach for something a little more warm weather-appropriate.
First up: the saison, a.k.a farmhouse ale. It’s perfectly suited to sunny days spent outside — hell, that’s specifically what it was brewed for. Back in the day, Belgian farms would brew their own and serve it to the farm workers after a hard day’s work in the summer heat. It’s generally light, bubbly, a little spicy, and powerfully refreshing.
Dupont Brewery’s version is considered the Platonic ideal of the style — which makes sense, given that the brewery is located on an 18th century Belgian farm. It’s a broadly defined style, though, and while most copy Saison Dupont to a certain extent, there’s a nearly endless combination of fruity, spiced options out there.
Once our office kegerator was finished, we figured a good saison would be a worthy option for one of the two taps now that the warming temperatures are setting in. After some rigorous testing, we settled on The Bruery’s version, which is brewed with wild yeast for some added funk and Belgian authenticity.
Appearance: Pours with a bubbly white head. Maybe a little too murky, but that one’s on us, not The Bruery — we’re still fine-tuning the kegerator settings.
Smell: Sweet banana and maybe a bit of spice, along with some funky wild yeast aroma.
Taste: This stuff is loaded with sweet and spicy notes: lemon, banana, and a peppery kick. There’s also a musty tinge from the yeast, which may not sound appetizing but adds a nice complexity to the other notes without being aggressively funky. It all pops on your tongue, goes down easy, and makes you want another sip right away.
Mouthfeel: Bubbly and just thick enough to coat your tongue with flavor.
Overall: This stuff beautifully hits on some strong, resinous Belgian flavors, almost so much so that it limits how refreshing the beer could be -- though that's not necessarily a bad thing. The wild yeast is definitely noticeable and adds a nice farmhouse-y touch that’ll please any beer nerds familiar with the stuff and is layered well with the other fruity, peppery flavors, but even then it might be a bit too dank for some. The alcohol gives the sweet notes a very subtle bite, and while it’s no Black Tuesday, the 6.8% ABV is high enough that you want to be careful, especially considering how easy it is to drink.
The unique wild yeast complexity is a cool addition to an already great style, which mixes well with the fruity, lemony-y taste and easy-drinking levity. It all adds up to a worthy companion for impending sunny days.