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Brew Review

Major Beer Category: Ale Major Style Category: Belgian & French Ale Sub Style Category: Saison or Farmhouse Ale What is a Belgian & French Ale? This category of beer as defined by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) includes Witbier, Belgian Pale Ale, Saison, Bier de Garde and Belgian Specialty Ale. The color spectrum for each of each respective styles ranges from pale straw or pale orange to amber, copper and brown. They display distinct aroma and flavor qualities and are generally distinguished in the glass by a dense, pillowy white head. Witbiers have a distinct zesty, citrusy mouthfeel developed via the use of curacao orange peel and coriander. Belgian Pale Ales are fruity and slightly spicy with balanced malt sweetness. Saisons combine fruity and spicy flavors with a distinct peppery, dry finish. Bier de Gardes feature “toasty, toffee-like or caramel sweetness”. Belgian Specialty Ales are vary widely in their production which encompasses a range of brewing practices not limited to the use of wild yeast strains. The alcohol contents range from 4.5% - 8.5% ABV and they are traditionally bottle conditioned.

Written by Matt Webster Photography by Scott Erb and Donna Dufault

Matt Webster is a craft beer enthusiast, educator, event goer, blogger, restaurant adviser, private dinner consultant, celebrity video show host and above all, proudly passionate about all things beer.

What is a Saison? Literally translated from French to mean “season”, farmers brewed these beers as a source of refreshment during the harvest season, a source of employment in the winter and a source of nutrients for their cattle – spent grain being a quality feed. Historically developed in Wallonia, the French speaking region of Belgium, theses thirsty farmers would brew during the late fall and early spring to maximize the cooler temperatures. The beers were brewed with enough strength (alcohol content) to last through the summer, but also light enough to serve as a replenishing reward to the local farmhands. While difficult to duplicate in the modern age based on the inconsistent availability and use of ingredients by the originators of this style, these beers are known to be dry, highly carbonated and showcase a array of fruit notes with a distinct peppery finish – each having their own distinct taste profile. Alcohol contents typically range from 5 – 7%, which some less traditional styles landing at 9% and above. Our Choice: Pretty Thing Beer & Ale Project, Jack D’Or (Cambridge, Massachusetts) Why did we choose this beer? Jack D’Or is a great example of a really good Saison and as a “harvest season” beer is an obvious choice to go with fall harvest desserts such as fruit crisps and pies. The fruit and spice in the beer plays off of the fruit and spice in the dessert and the slightly higher carbonation is a welcomed accompaniment to any dessert. Website: Where can you find it in a 22 oz. bottle? KJ Baarons, Mass Liquors, Austin Liquors, Julio’s Liquors, Marlborough Wine & Spirits, Wine Nation. Where Can You Find It On Draft or In The Bottle*: The Dive Bar, The Boynton, The Horseshoe Pub, The Armsby Abbey, Sweet ***Note: This beer may not always be available at the above locations at all times.


Foodies of New England

Foodies of New England Fall 2012  

Diners. Gluten-free Fall Classics.Farm to Table.