Saison Overload! 4th Annual Saison Festival at TRiNiTY Brewing Co.

On April 14, TRiNiTY Brewing Company in Colorado Springs held their 4th Annual Saison and Farmhouse Ale Festival at their newly remodeled brewery.  One of the most highly specialized beer festivals in the state, Saison Fest draws a rather large and diverse crowd.

Saison, meaning “season” in French, originated in the Wallonia region of Belgium and was traditionally made in farmhouse breweries.  This style is typically characterized by the unique yeast used, which can produce flavors like pepper, citrus, and a slight tang.  With 16 breweries in attendance and close to 30 beers poured, there were large variations on this classic style.

Here were a few of my favorites from the event:

TRiNiTY Brewing Company – TPS Report

Actually an American Wild Ale, this beer took home Gold at the 2009 GABF in the Experimental Beer category.  This citrusy sour is brewed with corriander, lime zest, lemon zest, and tangerize zest then fermented and aged in French oak barrels.  The bottle art is pretty badass as well… think Office Space.

Crooked Stave – Petite Sour Farmhouse Table Beer

As the follow-up to Pure Guava Petite Sour (and Blackberry Petite Sour if you are in the Reserve Membership), this Farmhouse Ale was aged in large oak barrels with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus.

Ska Brewing Company – Notorious G.I.N.

This beer takes the cake for the most interesting of the day.  This black Saison was brewed with Juniper and Green Peppercorns.

TRiNiTY Brewing Company – Saison Man

Just released last week, Saison Man is being marketed as a ‘Post Industrial Session Saison’.  I don’t know what that means, but it was brewed with weyerman pilsen, rye, flaked wheat, flaked oats, spelt, and grains of paradise then fermented with two farmhouse yeast strains.  The result is fantastic clean Saison with a nice dry finish.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company – Ovila Saison

Sierra Nevada represented just one of three breweries outside of Colorado at this beer festival, with the other being Lost Abbey.  Ovila Saison is an extremely classic representation of this style with notes of pepper and citrus.

Rockyard Brewing – Buddha Nuvo

Rockyard only poured 2 bottles of this during Saison Fest, but with each bottle running close to $40 retail you can guess why.  I was lucky enough to get a pour of this collaboration beer produced by 14 Colorado breweries and I must say I liked it.  Luckily this was one of the last beers I sampled because it really confused my palate.  It tasted very piney (in a good way) along with some spice and fruitiness.

Jason Yester, aka Saison Man

Anyone else make it down to the Springs for the one-of-a-kind beer festival?  If so, share your favorites in the comments.  Hell, even if you didn’t go tell us about your favorite Saison/Farmhouse Ales!

Here are the rest of my shots from the festival:

About Sean Buchan

Sean is a Physical Therapist and Photographer living in (and loving) Denver, Colorado. He enjoys shooting just about anything but his true passion is capturing the craft beer culture here in Denver. If you enjoy his photographs check out Beertographer.

  • Nicole Kester

    I would have to agree with the top two! They were the ones I kept go back for 🙂 Great article and Awesome Fest Mr. Saison Man.

  • Cairo

    TPS Report is truly an amazing beer!!!  I’ve never had anything like it, and if I did, it was a Trinity Beer.  Jason is brilliant in the combinations he uses for his brews as well as his process!  Truly a unique and amazing brewmaster!!