What is a Saison?
The history of Saison goes back over 300 years to the 1700s when they were brewed in the southern French speaking area of Belgium. Initially they were brewed
in the winter months for a few reasons as this would keep the farm workers busy but also with the lack of refrigeration and temperature control, it meant fermentation would occur at a steady and constant pace. Plus the lack of insects and bugs back in the day over winter must have helped.
These farmworkers worked during the hot summer months of July and August. They were seasonal workers hence the name ‘saisonniers’ and you can see how the name ‘Saison’ which means ‘season’ came about. In the 1700s it wasn’t as easy to find and provide water to workers as it is today. So these workers were given Saisons to quench their thirst. And for this reason, the beer had to be refreshing but was brewed at a lower alcohol to what it is today (2-3% vs 5-7%) to ensure the farm workers did not become too intoxicated.
Saisons have a unique taste. A tasting note will describe spicy notes, floral hops, fruit (stone fruits like apricots and mangos). Some tasting notes describe citrus fruit (lemons and oranges). There is a touch effervescence on the palate with some tartness coupled with a dry finish. Yeasty and bready notes are common too.
There are many different styles of saisons today ranging in flavour, colour and complexity as breweries are experimenting with the different additions to the beer.
The nature of Saison is that it is a food beer; great with a range of meals. Try it at dinner or when you’re next out and tell us if it paired well with you meal!
Some of the Saisons we have in-store include:
- Dainton Tropicana Session Saison
- Saison Dupont
- La Sirène Saisonette
- La Sirène Cuvée de Bois
And more new Saisons are expected to hit the store next week for the last week in September (2018) so drop in and speak to Sam!