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Saison / Farmhouse Ale
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All about saison & farmhouse ales
What is farmhouse or saison ale?
Farmhouse ale beer, or saison, is a summery, highly-carbonated beer that'll quench your thirst. It's one of the most delicate types of Belgian-style ale.
The refreshing taste results from a polished balance of Styrian, Noble or East Kent Goldings hops and pilsner or Munich malt. In lieu of the malt, some producers use malted wheat. Some varieties contain Brettanomyces, a form of yeast, for a slightly different taste. If you really have a sweet tooth, look for varieties with added candi sugar or honey.
Saison originates from Belgium, where the locals enjoy it in the summertime. It's also very popular among American producers, who brew it all year round. After all, beer lovers can't wait for summer to indulge in their favorite treat!
Farmhouse beers come with a hint of sourness and notes of lemon, orange, pepper and leather. The body is soft and the alcohol content moderate, from 4.4% to 6.8% ABV.
With what can you serve with saison?
Roast chicken and salads can turn into a gourmet meal with a nice saison beer and its delicate flavors. Try this Belgian-style brew with bouillabasse, a delicious fish stew from France. If you've never tried bouillabasse before, you're truly missing out!
As for cheeses, be sure to choose the funkiest and most tangy your palate can resist. They taste even more intense when paired with saison's complex flavor profile. Try goat cheese, aged Gouda, taleggio, bucheron or any washed-rind cheese. Aside from cheeses, spicy farmhouse beer varieties also work with equally spicy dishes, like pad Thai and shawarma.
What about meat? Pair your saison with grilled red meat, and its carbonation will wash your palate between bites.