Consider the saison. History did. During the 19th century, Belgian farmers brewed saisons, or “farmhouse ales,” using the leftover grains from the fall harvest. In fact, not only did farmers decrease leftover grains (and keep busy during the non-growing months) but also livestock ate the spent grain feed, and seasonal workers drank during the hot summer months to stay hydrated. That’s what you call a win-win. And back then, saisons only clocked in at about 3.5% ABV, making it a sessionable, hydrating beer during warm weather. The reason for so much of the funky yeast commonly found in saisons? Farmers would re-pitch the same yeast each year to save money, which led to some multi-strain fermentations. Today, the best saisons are refreshing, funky, and unique. OK, it’s late autumn, but let’s pretend it’s warming up outside and drink Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: Saisons On The Fly.
Unibroue A Tout Le Monde
À Tout le Monde Ale honors the mutual passions and friendship of Megadeth lead singer Dave Mustaine and Unibroue Brewmaster Jerry Vietz. This Belgian-style dry hopped golden saison hist the nose with hoppy notes of tropical fruits and citrus, followed by slightly spicy and astringent notes of tropical fruits and citrus, such as mango and lychee.
Fair Isle Brewing has released their second batch of their saison Alicel brewed with the workhorse hop variety at the Seattle Ballard neighborhood brewery, Hallertau Mittelfruh, and this beer puts those classic floral and spicy aromas on full display. German-grown Hallertau from Crosby Hops, along with Perle on the hot side both lend notes of ripe cucumber, dried geranium, and an herbaceous undertone. A simple grain bill of Francin Pilsner and malted White Wheat from Linc Malt set the stage for this ode to classic noble hops.
Brewed with Pilsner malt, spelt malt, and flaked wheat, Urban Family Brewing’s Saison 1100 is fermented in four separate puncheons with a saison and Brettanomyces blend, before being blended into one of the Seattle brewery’s stainless-steel vessels. After a small cold-conditioning period, the saison is then bottle conditioned. The result is an earthy and herbal, with a slightly tart note from the saison yeast, coupled with a lightly fruit Brett-funk kick.
Holy Mountain Brewing‘s The Ox is fermented in oak barrels and then aged for four months in an oak foeder, using one of the brewery’s favorite Brettanomyces yeast strains. This barrel-aged saison is brewed with orange zest and Cascade hops, and after time in the barrels, emerges with tart notes of orange and citrus on the nose followed by flavors of light oak, subtle banana, almond, citrus, earthy funk, honey, leather, spice, and vanilla notes. It’s pleasantly tart, complex, and yet highly drinkable. The finish is an anticipated saison finish — dry and effervescent.
Matchless Brewing’s Cranberry Festivus is named after “A Festivus for the Rest of Us,” a holiday created by Seinfeld character Frank Costanza who thought Christmas became to be too much: too much buying, too much stress, too much glitz. Costanza’s Festivus holiday included a Festivus pole, feats of strength and the ritual airing of grievances. Matchless Brewing’s Festivus is a red saison aged and re-fermented on whole cranberries in French and American oak barrels. Expect notes of caramelized sugar, flakey pie crust, and cranberry mingling with a mild amount of funk.