saison, a rustic, brightly spicy style of beer out of Belgium that is starting to grow in mainstream popularity here in the United States. Over the last few years, in fact, it has become one of my two or three favorite styles. If you brew a saison, I'm likely to try it. I brew my own saisons, too, including a black saison made with chocolate malt and a saison spiced with black peppercorn, basil, and thyme.
One of the very best saisons on the shelves is Hennepin by Cooperstown's Ommegang, arguably America's best brewer of Belgian-style beers.
This is a beer that suggests grassy fields and fresh farmland. The smell of Earthy air and the wind blowing through turn of the century farmhouses. The invigorating air of a reedy creekside and the unmistakable taste of something made by hand.
This is a beer that drinks better than its 7.7% ABV would suggest, a musty, spicy beverage that isn't as much designed for beach drinking as it is for old rocking chairs on covered porches. It also pairs remarkably well with a good meal, giving it a high class edge absent from many other beers.
Delicious by any measure, if I were inclined to create a personal top 20 beers list, this one would be likely to end up on it. Available in 12oz bottles and corked 750ml bottles, see it, get it, drink it. It's summer spent on a farm in a bottle. Perfect.
I talk a little more about why Hennepin is awesome in this piece for the Philadelphia Weekly.