Recently, I have really been enjoying a good Saison. The Saison or Farmhouse style ale originates in Europe when Saisons were brewed on farms for the farmhands to drink after a hard day. Today, you can find a lot of great Saisons that showcase unique characteristics of a certain brewery. In the most basic sense, Saisons are lighter in body and usually showcase some sort of Belgian yeast. Some people like to categorize the saison as the “Belgian Single” when compared to Dubbels, Trippels, and Quad. I see a Saison as a blank canvas for showcasing classic farmhouse flavors. They can be hoppy, tart, clean, farmyard-y, funky, straw light or more dark and complex. There are endless options within the style.
At West Vail Liquor Mart, we carry a wide array of Saison beers from the classics like Saison Dupont ($12.99/750ml) to Saisons like those from Blaugies in Belgium which are quite literally ales brewed on a farm to more modern American interpretations of the style. Brasserie de Blaugies out of Belgium is new to West Vail Liquor Mart. A very small family run operation, Blaugies is producing some rustic and interesting beers like Moneuse, a complex beer with notes of caramel and toffee and Saison D’Epeauture, an almost champagne like beer that is refreshing and challenges the palate (both retailing @ $12.99/750ml).
American craft brewers are pushing the boundaries of the Saison style and we have some new ones that I find to be very delicious and unique. One relatively new brewery to West Vail Liquor Mart is Blackberry Farm out of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Their beers are made very well to style and finish incredibly clean with a bouquet of farmhouse flavors. We currently carry their seasonal Winter Saison ($16.99/750ml), which is made with a darker malt profile and is great for a cold winter night. We also recently got a trio of Saisons made at Anchorage Brewing, one of the leaders of the American Saison style; Mosaic Saison, ($13.99/750ml) which features a bursting fruity Mosaic hop profile, Grassroots Arctic Saison, ($14.99/750ml) which is a collaboration with another king of American Saisons, Hill Farmstead in Vermont, and Invasion, ($13.99/750ml) a dry hopped IPA Style Saison brewed in collaboration with famed phantom brewer Mikkeler.
I would not sleep on the wonderful farmhouse ales being made right in our area. One new brewery I have really been enjoying is Prairie out of Oklahoma who makes a great farmhouse ale like the Prairie Standard ($2.99/12oz in our single beer door), a dry, hoppy, bubbly farmhouse ale with a nice New Zealand hop profile. Within Colorado check out Crooked Stave who makes an array of great and usually tart farmhouse ales and Casey Brewing and blending (limited availability in the store) out of Glenwood Springs, a new brewery at the forefront of farmhouse brews.
These new options are great for enjoying a nice bottle of beer with yourself or friends, or even bringing to a party to drink with dinner. They usually lend themselves to food very well and provide a different option for different people to try. No matter your favorite flavor profile, I think there is something in this style we can find for you that you will enjoy.
-Dean LoRusso, Beer Buyer, West Vail Liquor Wart