Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Oh The Hops

Seems like everyone is all about beer at the moment and I mean that in a good way. The range and quality of beer is better than I have ever known it to be and the willingness of consumers to spend a couple of extra quid to get a tastier brew is a reflection of this. With all this in mind here are a few Saison style Beers I've had recently, sadly not a style we get too much of in the UK but maybe if we get a half decent summer this year a few local brewers might have a crack at it. It's also a very female friendly style of beer having a big clean fruity hoppy style and champagne like levels of fizz, that w
should win over even the biggest Sauvignon blanc devotee.

So you may already know what a Saison is but some of you may not and this my understanding (it is probably wrong but hey). Back in the time before pubs beer was made on farms as a way of using up grain and making water safe to drink. It was also co-opted by the church to make festivals and celebrations a bit more fun. Harvest time was a natural time for Farmers and Churches alike to celebrate the bounty of the earth by putting as many fresh and tangy hops into a beer as possible. The good people of Wallonis decided while were at it, why not make it twice as strong as the usual stuff we drink all day and enjoy the mellow fruitfullness of the season properly. Ok so probably not quite how it happened but it gives you the gist

Saison Dupont
Wallonia Belgium 6.5%
£7 70cl

Saison Dupont is like Champagne in Beer form. Not only is it sealed with a cork, it also has a tendancy to spray everywhere like you've just won a grand prix, so open with care.

After all that what's it like well the beer itself is very golden and light in colour with a slight haze sort of like a malt whisky that has got too cold. It has a clean and fresh grassy note on the nose supported by malty yeastiness with a touch of candyfloss. The palate has a wonderful lightness which makes it dangerously gluggable lots of fruity floral pear and peach type top notes a little breadth and fullness with the bready mid palate but it's the big dry slap of fresh floral hops at the end makes it a glass of unadulterated joy. Have this with a curry in winter and barbeque in the summer and you will be very happy.


Saison Vos
Sly fox Brewing company. 6.9%
approx £10 70cl

This 6.9% abv is a US Version of a Belgian Farmhouse Ale has so much in common with the Dupont it's kind of hard to really notice too much difference between the two. However when you taste them side by side you realise that this has a bit more depth and weight to it a fuller malty savour which gives it even more substantial food friendly presence. Its golden with a slight haze and has plenty of peachy fruity citrus in there both on the aroma and the palate. This is less of a frothy fizzy explosion but is still light and refreshing and has plenty of sparkle perhaps more the distinction between a vintage champagne and non vintage in respect of a comparison with the Dupont. If pushed I would have to say the complexity of this makes me want to say I prefer this but the Dupont is so damn yummy in a not even having to think about it kind of way that I'd go for that, but this is a fantastic
beer for all that.


St Lupulin
Odells Brewing Co. 6.5%
£2.99 35cl 

There's some nonsense about the patron saint of hops or some such guff on this very lovely label. Lupulin is a compound in hops which can also be bought on herbal high websites with a whole range of soporific qualities verging on the miraculous. Its dry hopped giving some of the fresh summery floral hoppy character so evident in the previous two. A lovely golden colour with less persistent carbonation than in the larger bottles. There is a touch of drier hop bite on the finish of this one which is less evident in the richer Vos Saison and acts as a wonderful palate refresher.This is not quite as Champagne-like as the other two this is much more of a big fruity hoppy beer as anyone who might regularly drink an IPA would understand it and enjoy. Fresher and lighter perhaps than an IPA but still with that big bitter hop character that we have gotten a bit addicted to .. maybe there's something in that herbal high stuff after all.


If you wanted an English equivalent to these styles of beers you are looking for something with a big hit of hops and a quite light dry body balanced by alcohol around the six to 8% mark which points us in the direction of a decent IPA maybe like the Kernel below. However what you miss from this style is the lovely fresh hop note that the Saison Dupont throws at you like a bucket full of flowers.

So this summer I'm gonna ditch the Pinot Grigio and Prosecco in favour of a bottle or two of something Saison shaped.

No comments:

Post a Comment