Each Wednesday in this column I post my insights about one of the thousands of beers brewed in the great state of Colorado. Feel free to shoot me an email with your suggestions of Colorado beers you’d like me to feature – Lee Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org – or leave your ideas in the comments.
Besides a woolly nose and a lengthy arid finish, the saison (French for “season”) is arguably the most style-less of beer styles.
During the autumn and winter, farms in the French speaking Wallonia region of Belgium would brew beers stronger in alcohol and noticeably drier in mouthfeel. They were brewed for the specific purpose of storage and enjoyment during the hotter summer months – when fermentation and brewing was not optimal.
The resulting, and changeable beers, were hardy. They were resistant to overt souring and spoilage – although some did, and do, have an appreciated and subtle tart characteristic.
Fruits and herbs that happened to be available on the farm, or available locally, would often be used to season the brews.
Funkwerks of Fort Collins is, for all intents and purposes, America’s first dedicated saison brewery, and Saison is their natural flagship beer.
The nose of Funkwerks Saison is reminiscent of a dusty lemon meringue pie.
On the palate, the beer is instantly dry, with endless hazy lemon juice, white pepper and lime peel flavors. It is exquisitely structured, but not baffling in complexity. There is a cleanliness to the drink, sip through swallow.
Much is made of saisons’ multifaceted ability to pair confidently with all manner of savory dishes. I prefer to keep my saison pairings rustic and traditional. They are best served with slow cooked meat stews (read: rabbit, wild boar, lamb, venison and beef) that are bursting with harvest vegetables and legumes. Fresh crusty bread for mopping duties is a must. Soft and semi-soft washed rind cheeses pair flawlessly with saisons. All manner of cured charcuterie, pâté, chutney and pickled vegetables are thoroughly at home with the many and varied dry, fruity and spicy notes of saisons.
THE GEEKY STATS:
- Brewed in Colorado by: Funkwerks Brewery, 1900 E Lincoln Ave, Unit B, Fort Collins, CO 80524
- Released: Available year-round in 750ml bottles and on draft
- Beer style: Saison
- ABV: 6.8%
- IBU: 25
- Hops: Opal (organic)
- Grains: German Pilsner, Munich II, Pale Wheat, American Pilsner (all organic)
- Special ingredients: None
Check back next Wednesday when I highlight another Colorado Brewed beer. Cheers.