SupSaison wrap up

Wow time has flown, the #SupSaison weekend is almost a week old and I still haven’t posted a wrap up. I haven’t posted at all to be honest I’ve had a crazy few weeks with work and after long hard days I just couldn’t face another few hours tapping away at a laptop, so, I’m sorry…

I know the guys at the venues I mentioned last week had a real blast and I thank them and everyone else who joined in, wherever you may be, most sincerely.

At “Chez Hardy” I hosted a tasting night that lasted quite a bit longer than normal, it lasted way after midnight as it happened and well past Saisons too as it goes.

I opted for a mix of various styles, traditional well-tested standards, international attempts at mirroring the style, home-brew, flavoured, hybrid variations using saison yeasts and an Imperial. The results were quite surprising as none of the real favourites voted for were what I’d consider bang on typical style with most having a twist of some description in the mix. I’ve added a full list further below which includes descriptions not of my writing, this info gleaned from brewery websites etc and presented as a formal beer list to guests on the night. (Glamorous eh?)

We had seven tasters all of varying experience and all with slightly different personal tastes in beers and styles, each had two votes each and this is what came out as a top 5

  1. Red Willow – Faithless XIV Gin and Tonic Saison (Macclesfield) 4 Votes
  2. Baird Brewing Saison Sayuri (Japan) (Equal first place) 4 Votes
  3. Brasserie de Silly – Saison (Silly – Belgium) 3 Votes
  4. Belgoo – Saisonneke (Brasserie La Binchoise, Binche, Belgium) 2 Votes
  5. Green Flash – Saison Diego (San Diego – California) 1 Vote

So there you have it, the top two most enjoyed Saison beers of the night came from Japan and Macclesfield, who’d have thought it..

The night didn’t end there though, as because we were in such good company, I decided to open my long overdue bottle of Roosters Baby Faced Assassin, closely followed by a bottle of Stone Double Bastard. Thankfully as this was after midnight and SupSaison had unofficially closed the top five remained as they were otherwise the Roosters would have swept the board, it was absolutely stunning even though it was a year old.

We had a blast on the night, I hope you did too. I’ve already had requests to get another started, with suggestions of either Barley Wines or Lambics as the featuring beer style, what do you think, it’s of course open to further suggestion/debate??

Cheers

Note: There were no real tasting notes taken as this was supposed to form part of the wider twitter tasting event and therefore any comments made would have been live on the night, but here is the beer list:

Order of beer service ~

Traditional Belgian/French styles

St-Feuillien – Saison (LE ROEULX – BELGIUM)

St-Feuillien’Saison is what the Belgians call a beer of the terroir,
A traditional farmhouse ale with all the rich savour of the fertile land of southern Belgium. Saison, a warm golden blonde ale, is a top-fermented classique. Thanks to secondary fermentation in the bottle, Saison has an unmistakable flavour full of rich nuances and a slight tang.

Belgoo – Saisonneke (Brasserie La Binchoise, Binche, Belgium)

Dry hopped Saison, A really refreshing flowery hoppy beer with not that too much of bitterness going on. The hops are really more of a kind of flowery-fruity-citric aromas.

Brasserie La Chouffe – La Chouffe (Ardennes – Belgium)

LA CHOUFFE is an unfiltered blonde saison beer, which is re-fermented in the bottle as well as in the keg.  It is pleasantly fruity, spiced with coriander, and with a light hop taste.

Brasserie de Silly – Saison (Silly – Belgium)

Its taste is remarkable, light and favourably combined to offer a tone that is both modestly sweetened and fruity, leaving the mouth with a refreshing feel as is constantly asked of it.

 Brasserie Fantôme Saison (Soy-Erezée, Belgium)

This is a tremendously delicious, textural, and fizzy county ale, bright gold colour, citric and sour, reminiscent of a good champagne or lambic but in a class all its own.

Fantôme – Golden ale, 8% alc. by volume, with a wonderfully musty and characterful aroma. There are many drinkers out there who believe this is the “Nectar of the Gods.” Certainly no other brewer makes beer like this, in Belgium or anywhere. How many beers of 8% plus offer such fresh fruitiness? A solid Belgian saison beer at its base, with an unusual overlay of fruitiness.

International Efforts

 Green Flash – Saison Diego (San Diego – California)

Unfiltered golden farmhouse ale, brewed with Seville orange peels, Chinese ginger and grains of paradise. Light, bright, spicy aromas, lively carbonation and earthy flavors co-mingle with musty notes that add funky complexity.

Baird Brewing Saison Sayuri (Japan)

A fascinating mixture of down-to-earth simplicity and understated complexity. Brewed entirely with pale base malts and Japanese candy sugar (except for a hint of roasted barely for color contribution), Saison Sayuri is relatively light in body and sprite in flavor. The nose is an immensely complex amalgam of aromas – bubble gum-like phenolics from the Belgian yeast, floral and fruity notes
from dry hopping, and a subtle hint of citrus and spice from the addition
of Japanese daidai peels (daidai is a very sour type of Japanese orange). A splash of sour daidai juice also was added to the wort which manifests itself in a stealthily citric-sour finish.

Leeds Brew – Saison de la Maison  (Neil Gardner – Leeds)

Very classic, dry Saison, medium bodied with fruity yeast and peppery phenols dominating.

A massive thanks to Neil from LeedsBrew for sending me this at his own expense (I owe you one). It was not at all out on it’s own and I’d guess with some certainty that if I hadn’t said it was home brewed, nobody would have known.

Flavoured and style variations

Red Willow – Faithless XIV Gin and Tonic Saison (Macclesfield)

This isn’t just a Saison with a splash of Gordon’s and a glug of Schwepps added to it. The G&T flavours are provided by use of juniper and lemongrass respectively.

Flying Dog – In de Wildeman Farmhouse IPA

Brewed for Bierproeflokaal In de Wildeman’s 25th Anniversary. This brand new brew is an unfiltered American IPA hopped with Citra and fermented with Saison yeast.

 The Bruery – Saison Rue

Saison Rue is a unfiltered Belgian/French style farmhouse ale. This is a beer of subtlety and complexity, with malted rye, spicy, fruity yeast, biscuit-like malt backbone and a slight citrus hop character.

Cigar City – Guava Grove

One of Tampa’s nicknames in addition to the CigarCity is the Big Guava. It earned the moniker from local newspaper columnist Steve Otto in the 1970’s. The nickname eventually gave rise to one of YborCity’s most popular annual events, Guavaween. We brew Guava Grove in tribute to Tampa’s fruity nickname. Guava Grove is brewed with a French strain of Saison yeast and sees a secondary fermentation on pink guava puree. Slightly tart with a dry finish this is a refined beer that is perfect for sharing. Pairs well with a wide variety of cheeses, seafood and light fruit salads.

 Brasserie Fantôme – Pissenlit

Dany, the offbeat brewer at Fantôme, will try anything, and the results are always interesting. A beer made from dandelions would be worth a try if only because no one has ever brewed one before, but the great news is that this is actually a very good beer.
Dany and some cohorts get busy every spring picking bushels of dandelions that grow in the fields around the picturesque farmhouse brewery. The yellow flowers are removed and dried in the sun, then soaked in water for a few days. The thick, dark dandelion “tea” that results is the basis for the Pissenlit, which is made also from traditional barley malt and hops. It resembles a classic saison beer – golden spritzy brew, strong and very flavorful, with a good hop bite. You may have to strain to taste the dandelions, but you know they’re in there.
It should be noted that uncooked, the dandelion has a diuretic effect and is known in France as Pissenlit (literally, “wet the bed” – this also happens to be the British folk-name) for precisely this reason.

Imperial Saison

Marble – Special Imperial Saison (Marble & Dark Star colab, brewed in Manchester)

Imperial Saison brewed in partnership with DarkStar. Classic spicy yeast notes with with a warming alcohol kick.

Fin…

Who’s up for a GLOBAL Saisonathon?

On Saturday 16th of September 2012, we’re planning a bit of a shindig in appreciation of all things Saison, why, because we can..

Full details below, please read, circulate and re-circulate and with luck we’ll have one hell of a party!

If you are planning an event, be that at home in your local pub, bar, beer store, drinking establishment, where ever, please get in touch or send me your blog links, I’ll try to help publicise and summarise what’s going on in your neck of the woods on the day.

Get Your Sias-on!
What do you know about Saisons?

Saison: Also known as ‘farmhouse ale’, is a Belgian style that was originally brewed during the cold months in order to last through summer. The flavor tends to focus on the earthy yeast and heavy spices, although fruit and tartness are common. Saisons are highly carbonated and tend to be dry. Typical alcohol content varies widely from 5-9%. The Beer Tutor

Bier de Garde and Saison: Pale Ales brewed in the Flanders area of Northern France and in Belgium during the Autumn and Winter and stored for Summer drinking (de Garde) or for drinking fresh (Saison/Season). Traditionally served to farm labourers in the field as “liquid bread”. Alex Barlow – All Beer Guide

That’s all very well but there’s no better way to learn than by experience and tasting their wonderfulness. Light, hoppy, MASSIVELY refreshing and bursting with fruit and biscuit flavours, they are absolutely

perfect for the Summer months.

After discussing this on Twitter (where else) it seems pace was gathering in getting our Sais-On collectively in another tasting day. We’ve opted for Saturday 15th of September to try and avoid the Leeds International Beer Festival and Borefts later that month.

So whats the idea?

No suggested beer lists although I’ll list a few suggestions later for anyone that is totally new to the style, just grab some of your favourites and drink them, preferably with a few friends as beer always tastes better when shared with your buddies. Hopefully a few of your countries top bars will join in as usual and put a few specials on for your enjoyment, if yours isn’t one of them, ask why and tell them to get their fingers out.

Then on the day Saturday 15th September 2012 in case you’ve missed it, share your experiences on Twitter using #SupSaison or via Facebook, blogs etc etc, the world is your oyster. Using the hash-tag will allow everyone to find everyone else and you may get a few followers out of it too. (Incidentally for folks outside of the UK, to “Sup” means to drink (beer generally) so Sup-Saison means Drink-Saison.

As promised here’s a few suggestions to look out for, it’s by no means comprehensive and there are a few listed that may not even still be available, but ideas at least to get you started on your very own Saisonathon.

Saison Cazeau
Saison Dupont
Nøgne ø Saison & India Saison
Saison Dottignies
Dupont Moinette Biologique
Flying Dog Wildeman IPA, fermented with Saison yeast
Marble/DarkStar Saison
St-Feuillien Saison
Ilkley Siberia Rhubarb Saison
Red Willow “Faithless XIV
Summer Wine Brewery Lime and Coriander Saison
Urthel Saisonaire
Saison Silly
Belgoo Saisonneke
Grassroots/Tired Hands “Wachu Saison
Jandrain IV Saison
The Bruery Saison Rue
8 Wired Saison Sauvin
Dark Star Saison
Bristol Beer Factory Saison
Fantome Saison

Saison d’Erpe-Mere

Please feel free to retweet, re-blog, share or better still write your own post, let’s get this party of the Summer Saison!

Cheers

Get your Sais-On #SupSaison

What do you know about Saisons?

Saison: Also known as ‘farmhouse ale’, is a Belgian style that was originally brewed during the cold months in order to last through summer. The flavor tends to focus on the earthy yeast and heavy spices, although fruit and tartness are common. Saisons are highly carbonated and tend to be dry. Typical alcohol content varies widely from 5-9%. The Beer Tutor

Bier de Garde and Saison: Pale Ales brewed in the Flanders area of Northern France and in Belgium during the Autumn and Winter and stored for Summer drinking (de Garde) or for drinking fresh (Saison/Season). Traditionally served to farm labourers in the field as “liquid bread”. Alex Barlow – All Beer Guide

That’s all very well but there’s no better way to learn than by experience and tasting their wonderfulness. Light, hoppy, MASSIVELY refreshing and bursting with fruit and biscuit flavours, they are absolutely

perfect for the Summer months.

After discussing this on Twitter (where else) it seems pace was gathering in getting our Sais-On collectively in another tasting day. We’ve opted for Saturday 15th of September to try and avoid the Leeds International Beer Festival and Borefts later that month.

So whats the idea?

No suggested beer lists although I’ll list a few suggestions later for anyone that is totally new to the style, just grab some of your favourites and drink them, preferably with a few friends as beer always tastes better when shared with your buddies. Hopefully a few of the countries top bars will join in as usual and put a few specials on for your enjoyment, if yours isn’t one of them, ask why and tell them to get their fingers out.

As promised here’s a few suggestions to look out for, it’s by no means comprehensive and there are a few listed that may not even still be available, but ideas at least to get you started on your very own Saisonathon.

Saison Cazeau
Saison Dupont
Nøgne ø Saison & India Saison
Saison Dottignies
Dupont Moinette Biologique
Flying Dog Wildeman IPA, fermented with Saison yeast
Marble/DarkStar Saison
St-Feuillien Saison
Ilkley Siberia Rhubarb Saison
Red Willow “Faithless XIV
Summer Wine Brewery Lime and Coriander Saison
Urthel Saisonaire
Saison Silly
Belgoo Saisonneke
Grassroots/Tired Hands “Wachu Saison
Jandrain IV Saison
The Bruery Saison Rue
8 Wired Saison Sauvin
Dark Star Saison
Bristol Beer Factory Saison
Fantome Saison

Saison d’Erpe-Mere

Please feel free to retweet, re-blog, share or better still write your own post, let’s get this party of the Summer Saison!

Cheers

Summer Wine Brewery – Lime and Coriander Saison

Saison, a beer for all seasons?

I think so and was particularly excited about this recent addition to the Summer Wine Brewery bottled range. Yes I prefer to drink saison in the warmer months, but hey, it was snowing outside, the heating on full-bore, I improvised…. 😉

I’d had my first taste of what the guys at SWB can do with this style at their Meet The Brewer Event at Port Street Beer House last year, on show that night was Nettle and Ginger, one of four planned for their “Summer of Saison“, see the quote from brewer James below:

So you’ve probably guessed we like to explore styles thoroughly before moving on to the next project so this leads us nicely into our SUMMER of SAISON, we are going to brew 4 gyles of saison at 6.0% abv. each with differing dominant flavours, Nettle & Ginger, Lime & Coriander, Lemongrass & Fennel & Orange & Rosemary. As for the hops we are to use, we have lined up some noble goodies in the form of ‘Perle’, ‘Sterling’, ‘Saaz’, ‘Bobek’ & ‘Tettnang’  other varieties used will include ‘East Kent Goldings’ & ‘Liberty’. The selection of hops are designed to compliment & work with the range of ingredients we’re using.

A lot of beer has passed across the taste buds since that cracking evening at PSBH, I’ve not tasted any of the others planned above and I’m not entirely sure if they ever saw the light of day, regardless of that though, if anything the Lime & Coriander pairing was the one that interested me most.

As I poured mine it had a thin fluffy head, I did try to get more but only managed about a finger width which disappeared pretty fast. The beer itself clear and lively with a sunny pale yellow hue, a constant stream of bubbles rising up the glass like a mini jacuzzi.

Aroma is quite reserved, none of the usual “Summer Wine hop craziness” in this fella, instead it’s a subtle biscuity yeast smell with big zesty lime notes and maybe a hint of black pepper. Once you get stuck in it’s a light refreshing mouthful, bitter and sweet ant the same time if that makes any sense at all. There’s plenty of lime which is quite pithy which delivers a nice sharpness, the coriander though is more subtle, it’s there but sits in the background with a herby peppery-ness that suits the lime to a tee. The whole shebang balanced beautifully by a biscuit and caramel malty sweetness, those sweet malts mingling with that lime bitterness lasting long on the palate after each mouthful.

A beer I’ve looked forward to for a long time, since July 2011 to be exact, but one that was worth waiting for as it definitely doesn’t dissapoint, not that I expected any other outcome..

Cheers