Ballantine Beer Leaderboard
Swedish Beer Fest header ad

American Saisons: 5 Beers for Spring

by David Covucci on May 1, 2012 in Beer
American Saisons: 5 Beers for Spring

Spring is in full swing, and with warm weather and crisp breezes come spades of seasonal brews. One of the most popular styles this time of year is the saison (“season” in French). Originating in Belgium, saisons were designed as refreshing beers to serve after a day’s work in the hot sun. Although they are technically pale ales, they are much more complex than others of that family, with elements of pilsner and hefewizen in the brew. Known for their light body and crisp finish, they also carry heavy spicing and prevalent fruit flavors. Though some of the best are still brewed in Belgium, U.S. options are gaining steam. Here are five of our favorite American saisons.

Ommegang Hennepin

Cooperstown, NY-based Ommegang creates beers that hew close to traditional Belgians, and their saison is no different. Hennepin is lightly hopped and brewed with ginger and orange. It is on the dark side, with a rich amber hue, and sports a strong and dense head, which pairs nicely with the opening taste of hops. The second flavor is a heavy dose of citrus, mainly orange. Hennepin finishes with a strong taste of coriander — a popular Saison spice — as well as a very light, but apparent, bit of banana. It falls on the high end of the alcohol spectrum for the style, coming in at 7.7% ABV.

Heavy Seas Red Sky At Night

The saison from Baltimore, MD’s Heavy Seas Brewing is known as Red Sky at Night. This too is relatively strong, registering 7.5% AB, and has an orange tint, unlike the typical straw color of the average saison. The head is lighter than most, with the white foam evaporating rapidly. The beer opens with a strong hop note, but then immediately reveals its density, containing a multitude of tastes, including banana and pear. Hidden under those is a subtle layer of caramel, lending the beer the robust feel of a brown ale.

Dogfish Head Saison Du BUFF

For their saison, Delaware-based Dogfish Head collaborated with several other breweries. This group effort from Dogfish, Stone Brewing Company and Victory Brewing Company is a stellar offering, and — just like with everything Dogfish Head — is anything but normal. This brew relies heavily on herbs, with sage, rosemary, parsley and thyme all steeped in during the process. The beer pours a perfect straw color, with a dense head. Hops are present in the first taste, but under it come the herbaceous notes, along with a hint of lemon. At 6.8% ABV, it’s also a little lighter on the alcohol.

New Belgium Prickly Passion

The spring offering from what may be the hottest craft brewer in the country right now — Denver, CO’s New Belgium Brewing — is Prickly Passion. The beer takes a different route than most, bringing fruit, not hops, to the forefront. This concoction is brewed with the juices from passion fruit and prickly pears, the flavors of which are obvious from the get-go, as is the alcohol content. This is a strong beer, coming in at 8.50% ABV. Prickly Pear has the nice straw typical of the style, though the head that doesn’t carry as well as some others. However, it finishes pleasantly with a touch of spice and bit of peppery bite.

Yards Saison

The lightest of our picks comes from Philadelphia’s Yards Brewing Company. Their saison comes in at 6.50% ABV, and makes for a smooth, light quaff. The beer has a hazy look to it, though it does not have the complexity that others do, drinking almost like a refreshing pilsner. There is little spice and nary a sour note, but it does have a strong hint of pear that shows through. The hops are also faint, coming more on the back end than in the opening. Alongside the hops are a grassy bite, which adds a refreshing feel. It also comes packed with carbonation, making it, and all these other beers, the perfect brew to enjoy on a warm, breezy spring day.

What are your favorite saisons for spring? Let us know in the comments.

Recent Articles
Oktoberfest Pretzel Catastrophe Looming as Munich's Bakers Mull Strike
Frozen Fixes at the Jersey Shore
Feliz Crew Goes American With Beast & Ale, Now Open in Manayunk
spacer
2 Gingers Below Features
From Around The Web

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Frozen Fixes at the Jersey Shore

Frozen Fixes at the Jersey Shore

The summer may unofficially be over, but the heat is still here. Cool down with these frozen treats. ...read more ›

by Erica Bauwens Sep 2, 2014
Feliz Crew Goes American With Beast & Ale, Now Open in Manayunk

Feliz Crew Goes American With Beast & Ale, Now Open in Manayunk

They're bringing it all back home with an updated approach to a greasy spoon that serves 'savory classics with a beastly twist.'...read more ›

by Drink Philly Sep 2, 2014
SPONSORED
Drinkers Desktop Rectangle
Brews By the Bay Celebrates Both Sides of the Cao in Cape May, Sept 6

Brews By the Bay Celebrates Both Sides of the Cao in Cape May, Sept 6

Celebrate craft beer on both sides of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry at the Brews By The Bay beer festival this Satu...read more ›

by Erica Bauwens Sep 2, 2014
Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia

Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia

Whether it's to enjoy the first warm breezes of spring or the summer's sunshine, Philadelphia is full of great places to drink in the great outdoors....read more ›

by Polly Math Apr 7, 2014
30 Places to Find the Best Philadelphia Brunch Cocktails

30 Places to Find the Best Philadelphia Brunch Cocktails

In Philadelphia, brunch isn't just a portmanteau, it's a religion....read more ›

by Polly Math Feb 10, 2014
What to Drink at CookNSolo's Abe Fisher, Opening Sept. 2 in Center City

What to Drink at CookNSolo's Abe Fisher, Opening Sept. 2 in Center City

The namesake Abe Fisher Cocktail keeps kosher with a splash of dill pickle juice added to Beefeater 24 and Dol...read more ›

by Drink Philly Sep 2, 2014
Win Tickets to See Coheed and Cambria and Thank You Scientist at the Tower Theater, Sept 24!

Win Tickets to See Coheed and Cambria and Thank You Scientist at the Tower Theater, Sept 24!

Win Tickets to See Coheed and Cambria and Thank You Scientists at the Tower Theater, Sept 24....read more ›

by Drink Philly Sep 2, 2014
Live Music to Celebrate Labor Day Weekend 2014 at the Shore

Live Music to Celebrate Labor Day Weekend 2014 at the Shore

Why not enjoy the last unofficial weekend of summer tapping your toes at some of the best bars for live music the shore has to offer....read more ›

by Erica Bauwens Aug 26, 2014
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Like us on Facebook!

Close