The Art of Saison: An Expression of Love & Oak
Saison can express itself in a great variety of ways which makes the style hard to pin down into a singular definition of flavour and aroma.
We have thoughts about how a saison should look, smell and taste, and we use different techniques to ferment saison to create a diversity of flavours that we use to blend our barrels into our ideal saison; one that is bone dry, sparklingly effervescent, complexly fruity and rustically earthy, leaving you longing for more when your glass has emptied.
Our first year of saison fermentations were made in open steel tanks before laying down to rest in wine barrels with our house culture of souring bacteria and many strains of Brettanomyces, a yeast known for its unique, sometimes funky flavours.
The profile we found with this method of saison fermentation was bone dry and lightly tart, if there was not much hop bitterness, with floral, lime-zest notes. This is one beautiful expression of our ideal saison.
As we entered our second year of brewing, we began to ferment some of our saisons completely in barrel in a solera method by drawing off a portion of aged one-year-old saison and replacing it with fresh wort for the house culture to ferment anew. With these barrel-fermented saisons, we found greater complexity – oaky vanilla, soft acidity, wood spices, bright lemon rind and fresh-cut flowers.
Lately, we started our first spontaneous fermentations that are open-air cooled in the late winter and early spring, capturing wild, sugar-loving microflora to ferment our beer. This method of beer production is inspired by the Lambic tradition of brewing and one we particularly love.
At this point, however, we must ask ourselves, “Is this still saison?” To our mind, yes. We express the season at hand and, when put side by side with our other saison, the family resemblance is clear.
We look forward to continuing to hone and develop new techniques for making saison… to not control the beer but lead it in a desired direction. When our beer has completed its long journey in oak, we look forward to tasting the exciting flavour profiles it has in store for us, and blending new saison that further explores this concept of our ideal.
These are the qualities that capture the essence of saison for us. And while saison can be open to interpretations, at its core, making this style of beer is an artistic endeavor – an expression of love and oak. We hope you enjoy our saison, in laughter and in stillness.