saison Archives – PorchDrinking.com
Rake Beer Project, in Muskegon, Michigan, is less than two years old, and whether you love them or hate being told to stay home to help curb a relentless global pandemic, they’ve probably slowed your newsfeed scroll at least twice in 2020. And, like it or not (trigger warning): they’re about to do it a third time.
At the onset of Covid-19 flipping Earth into The Upside Down, Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer was unfazed after being slapped with a belittling nickname, “That Woman From Michigan,” by (three guesses) “That President From New York.” Twitter deflected the shade and clapped back on her behalf: Photoshop helped place a pair of Cartier sunglasses (known as “Buffs” in Detroit) on Whitmer, and The Michigangster was soon rebranded “Big Gretch.” In a public display of support for the governor’s Stay at Home Order, Rake joined the party, threw a non-red hat in the ring, and made a beer in her honor.
One of the most wonderful things about Michigan, given its vicinity to the Great Lakes, is the multitude of mini climates that make the state ideal for growing grapes, hops, wheat and, of course, cherries. However, despite a great deal of hullaballoo over Michigan cherries, it is far from the only fruit grown in the Mitten State. Mirabelle plums, apples, pears and quince are also grown throughout Michigan’s western fruit belt, as well as the luscious and lovely blueberry. It stands to reason, then, that breweries throughout the fruit belt region embrace the blueberry and other fruits as a way to make authentically-Michigan, fruit-based beers from locally grown fruit. Few are more locally grown than Waypost Brewing Company, a farm brewery that prides itself on its ties to the land.
“We define Waypost as a farmhouse brewery, and our beers are created to reflect the place and the people who make it what it is. Whether that’s the water, the fruit or the feeling on the farm the day the beer was brewed, we want our product to be a reflection of this truly unique place,” said Waypost’s co-owner and brewer, Hannah Lee.
Seasonal beers are bittersweet. While they often use fresh, quality ingredients and are perfect for the time of year, it also means you only get to drink them for a limited time. Whiner Beer, a brewery on Chicago’s Southside, specializes in barrel-aged beer inspired by Belgium and French practices and has a few seasonal beers their patrons look forward to throughout the year.
Rifting off their permanent Saison LeTub, Bleu Tub is a barrel-aged Saison brewed with blueberries and is only available for half the year. With a dusty purple-ish hue and foamy head, the beer gives off scents of citrus, florals and it perks the nose up. With a smell that is clean, refreshing and inviting, Bleu Tub provides the perfect balance of comfort and excitement.
On a recent trip to Austin, Texas, my wife Jenna and I paid a visit to Roughhouse Brewing in nearby San Marcos. Alex Pasternak, co-founder and creative lead, was gracious enough to show us around the brewery during off hours and let us sample some Roughhouse beers, including their Sordid Nature Dark Saison.
Super Bowl Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year. My friends and I gather for an evening of celebration and friendly competition: the annual Dip Party. The football plays on mute for any plus ones who care about sports, and the game is only un-muted for the half-time show. Everyone attending brings a homemade dip and dunker, with first, second, and third place prizes based on a popular vote.
From sweet to savory, nostalgic classics to fresh takes, the party is all about the dip — a quintessential snack at any gathering. And as dip is the perfect party food, beer is an obvious beverage choice. This is especially true on Super Bowl Sunday when the industry is inundated with heightened awareness for beer’s biggest players. Whether enjoying a small spread or hosting a dip feast of your own, below are fail-safe beer pairings for some classic party dips.
At the end of last year, I wrote a piece on how in 2019 I was going to stop drinking hazy IPAs. Many people didn’t read past the headline and assumed it was just a purely negative piece on hazy IPAs; however, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
By far, my favorite holiday beer is Brasserie Dupont’s Avec Les Bons Voeux (translated as “with good wishes”). It’s made year-round, but only brought to the United States during winter. The beer began as a treat to brewery visitors during the holidays and, as it only makes its way to the United States around the holidays, it remains a special treat for us.
It was a dark, blustery evening and the city was rushing to make it home before the arrival of an autumn snowstorm. The first snow of the season loomed over Denver as clouds darkened and the wind whipped the coats of commuters as we experienced the second-largest two-day temperature drop on record. Winter arrived early in Denver–including at my local liquor store, where I picked out a Fantôme Hiver, enticed by the mischievous ghost on the label, to warm me up on that brisk night.
Hershey, Pennsylvania, is more than just The Sweetest Place on Earth! Beyond the chocolate bars, the town is also home to the 27th largest craft brewery in the U.S. based on beer sales volume. This brewery, Troegs Independent Brewing, has been around since the late nineties. Throughout the years, they have created a variety of beers including lip-puckering wild ales like Apricot Farmette.
Lo Rez Brewing released Apricot Knockout in March, but the weather in Chicago is just warming up enough to dive into this farmhouse ale fermented with apricots. This beer rounds out Chicago’s Pilsen-based neighborhood brewery’s current four-pack offerings that put tartness in the forefront.
Spring is upon us! The sun is peeking through, trees are sprouting leaves, flowers are blooming and drinking outside has once again become a pleasant possibility. There is something about seeing the first blossoms of warmth makes us crave a saison—more than usual, of course.
Sacramento, CA-based Urban Roots Brewing & Smokehouse has made quite a name for themselves since they opened to the public in May 2018, becoming known not only for creating award-winning beers but also for their succulent Texas-inspired, California-influenced BBQ.
Colorado makes a lot of good beer; thankfully, many of the brewers that call the state home have made it a point to distribute their goods outside of their state lines. As margins continue to decrease and shelf space continues to dwindle, the mid-size breweries that distribute on a regional basis have shrunk as well. Throwing your beer into a new state is a harrowing business venture that requires a variety of planning and strategy to ensure that your beer competes well on-shelves and on draft with more local options. Fort Collins-based Funkwerks recently made such a move, announcing that four of their offerings are now available in Chicago, tallying their total distribution presence to 11 states.
I don’t care what season it is—it’s always time for a saison. The word “saison,” after all, means season in French. If you’re like me, you’re always looking for another one to try. And lately, a ton of wine barrel-aged saisons have been popping up. So when I saw Grapeyard Shift from Strange Roots, I knew it belonged in my fridge.
The nearly four-year-old Denver brewery, Call to Arms Brewing (CTA), won a 2018 World Cup gold in the Fresh or Wet Hop Ale category for a beer inspired by the crew’s love of Billy Madison with its More Like Bore-O-Phyll. In September, during GABF week, the brewery held its third annual [email protected]#*ing Call to Arms Catalina Wine Mixer! Simply, the brewery deftly intertwines the art of sophisticated beer production with relaxed, easy-going fun. And, the recent release of Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Tasting (RRRGT), a farmhouse ale aged in Chardonnay barrels with Brett Claussennii only further cements that concept; one should not feel compelled to stick out one’s pinky—just kick back and enjoy a beer that’s really, really, ridiculously good.
The revered Belgian brewing tradition has long inspired American brewers to recreate, adapt and riff on Belgian styles and Chicago breweries are no exception. Middle Brow Beer Co. is one of those breweries experimenting with classic European styles not to imitate, but to craft a beer entirely of its own making. Robyn, one of Middle Brow’s flagship brews, pays homage to the yeast-driven character of Belgian beer in a cross between a farmhouse, abbey and blonde ale.
As the season is trying its hardest not to let fall happen, I am soaking up all the sunshine I can! The leaves are changing colors, littering the grounds; the sun is going to bed earlier, and the moon — I mean… it’s been bright and huge, I love it! I personally love fall and it doesn’t mean the end of porch drinking weather. So bundle up, light the firepit, and see What We’re Drinking.
It is a great time to be alive if you’re a craft beer drinker. Between the innovation, quality and wealth of choice that the craft beer boom has offered the general consumer, there’s a lot to be thankful for. You can add packaging to that growing list. Craft brewers like Colorado-based Funkwerks are well-aware that their audience now demands a strategic combination of quality and uniqueness when it comes to picking out what beer they take home with them. One of the more popular packaging trends that fits this need is the surge in variety packs sold across the nation. Funkwerks is diving head first into the trend with their own unique twist. Instead of focusing on hops and IPAs, Funkwerks’ newest Winky’s Snack Pack wraps up four unique sours and saisons to a create a truly unique packaging format that stands out on shelves.
Good old Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. Home to the Philly cheese steak, the current Super Bowl champions, the Liberty Bell, soft pretzels and a heaping selection of fantastic beers. One could spend a full day traveling to all the breweries in the Philadelphia area and not even come close to trying them all. Trust me, I’ve tried and failed.
A handful of weeks back, on a quintessential Seattle spring evening, dozens of Fremont Brewing’s most loyal and ardent patrons gathered at the brewery’s Frelard facility location in celebration of the Heron Hunting Club’s annual event. The event, which is rightfully hailed as one of the best in Seattle’s craft scene, is a chance for Fremont fanatics to mingle with the brewery’s staff, experience incredible bites from famed Seattle chefs, and perhaps most importantly, stock up favorite Fremont beers that the brewery releases from their cellars for the occasion. As one of the lucky fans that was in attendance for the Heron Hunting Club get together, I was not going to let this rare shopping opportunity slip away. I left with a plethora of beers that, to this day, has me giddy – one of those brews being The Lamb, a 2016 saison that was the first brew from Fremont’s Fermentation Lab series.