Thursday, August 1, 2013

You Put WHAT Kind of Hops in My Saison?!

How often is it that you discover a new style of beer?  In this age of the Internets and the Googles, information is flowing faster than ever.  Due to the unwavering diligence of the words of the beer blogger, faithful readers get news of beer releases via label approvals sometimes MONTHS before a beer is released.  Therefore, you would think nothing could slip by, right?

It wasn't so much a style that alluded me, but more a blend of styles.  I'm talking about saisons (farmhouse ales) that are hopped up like an IPA (hey, happy #IPAday, if you're into that sort of thing).  Let's call them simply, bitter saisons.  I had my first saison brewed in this way last weekend, but not on purpose, as I thought it was going to be more of a traditionally brewed saison.  Then, I came across ANOTHER one!  I bought it thinking it would be another traditionally brewed saison, but nope.  Both had tons of citrus/pine in the aroma and in the flavor, and surprised the heck out of me!

Even though it was a surprise, it was not a bad surprise!  I loved both of these beers, and would buy them again and again!  I found the IPA-like hoppiness really blended well with the peppery elements of the saison.  Both beers had dry finishes, which only begged me to keep taking drinks from my too small 12 oz. pour.  

Wondering at all what beers I had?  The first bitter saison I had over last weekend was Weyerbacher Brewing's Aquila.  Aquila is the second release in Weyerbacher's new Brewer's Select Series, which will all feature constellation names.  Pretty neat if you ask me.  I picked up two bottles from the brewery.  They may have some left, but not for long.  Aquila rang in at 7.1% ABV.

Weyerbacher Aquila
Weyerbacher Aquila

Last night I had my second bitter saison.  This one was from Free Will Brewing, also out of Pennsylvania, and was named Rapunzel.  Rapunzel clocked in at 7.5% ABV.  Free Will has been open to the public for around a year and a half now, and is turning heads with a lot of their beers.  Check them out!  I was able to find this bottle of Rapunzel, as well as one of their imperial IPA's named Hop Geek, at Blue Dog Pub in Lansdale, PA.

Free Will Brewing Rapunzel
Free Will Brewing Rapunzel
So how about you?  Have you had any of these saisons that are hopped up like an IPA?  What do you think of them?  Feel free to talk about it in the comments!

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4 comments:

  1. We have a lot of saison producers here in Oregon. Most, though, seem to be focusing on adding Brettanomyces into their standard saisons. A few are playing with some hops, but not on IPA levels. For the moment, their leaving the hops to every other style of beer.

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    1. A quick Google search showed me that homebrewers have been doing this for several years now. They taste good, but I'm not quite sure this style will take hold. Free Will Brewing seems to be making it either year round or seasonal, but for Weyerbacher it was only a one-off. Only time will tell if it catches on, I suppose!

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  2. I love this post! The only "Saison" that I have ever ran into was Saison du BUFF. I enjoyed it, but I didn't think much of them as Saisons. It was interesting tasting the different takes on the same base recipe though.

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    1. Thanks Allen!

      I have only had one of the Saison du BUFF's. I think it was the Dogfish head version, but I'm not sure. I'll have to check them out next time they are released!

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