An unknown and scarcely brewed style, the Saison was once the farm workers beer. Now often served with a superiority complex, this beer has deep roots in the field.
Bière de Saison, or beer of the season, was first developed in Wallonia, Belgium, and was brewed during the cooler season and stored over the winter months to age and mature, but most importantly to be ready for consumption by farm workers in the upcoming warm season.
Often called Farm House beers, this particular style is wide open to interpretation, and was restricted by the availability of what was in the fields at that particular farm. The beer usually held a higher hop content for the stability during aging, as well as a higher alcohol content for the same purpose, but not so high that the farm workers couldn’t perform their required duties.
The ingredients used in this particular style were grown in the rich flatlands of Belgium and consisted of wheat, oats, barley, and spelt (also known as dinkel wheat or hulled wheat, a species of wheat cultivated since approximately 5000 BC), as well as various herbs and spices.
Wild yeasts were also incorporated into the brewing process. Given the equipment and environment that the brewery was located in, many of these farmhouses developed “house” flavors that were carried over season after season.
All of these constantly changing variables allowed for an extremely wide brewing palate, so even in modern times, no Saison is like another.