So what is a Saison?

So what is a Saison?

July 09, 2022

Saison is often on the menu at a craft beer bar, or indeed restaurants or regular bars. Sounds a bit French maybe? After all, Saison is the French word for Season, but what does it mean in the beer world? Buckle up and let’s get dig into it.

If you read the textbooks, it’s a highly carbonated Pale Ale that can contain spicy, fruity, herbal notes. It can be light gold to amber in colour, with a relatively low bitterness and historically low ABV. Although in reality, like most things beer these days, the style is pretty open for interpretation these days.

Often also referred to as ‘Farmhouse Ales’, these beers were brewed in the winters by farmers in the area around the Franc-Belgium border. They were usually drank over the summers as a ‘working refreshment’, but low enough ABV you could (importantly) go back to work .

Flavour wise, you will find spicy and fruity notes, which can come from two places. Sometimes there are additions to the brew process like orange zest, coriander, ginger, pepper etc. but also often this will be a result of the warm fermenting yeast. The esters (flavour compounds) which are a bi-product of fermentation can give aromas of citrus, floral and fruity tastes. Occasionally there may be a hint of funk, but this would be down to the loose controls in the brewing process (to be expected on a farm!). Overall a quite refreshing beer with some complex flavours - sit back and imagine that you’ve just done a hot shift on the fields! Food pairing wise, great for cheese, fish and chicken.  

We have a Saison in the form of ‘A Hymn For The Fields’ by North Brewing’s new experimental works ‘Field Recordings’. They used a mix of New Zealand, US and German hops, and a mix of traditional farmhouse saison yeast and wine yeast. They both boost the vinous flavours of the hops and bring a light tartness and full body. The result is a hybrid between a Belgian classic, a NEIPA and a sweet wine. Light stone fruit flavour upfront with tones of grass, fresh vanilla and a coarse mineral finish.

So now you know! Go out into the world and show off to your mates.

Why not try for yourself the modern interpretation from Field Recordings? Hit up the North Brewing section on the webshop, add to basket and let us do the rest.