The warm weather of the past few weeks has finally hammered through my thick head that winter can’t last forever. I personally love winter, but I also try to make the most of each season, so I just busted out the grill for the first barbecue of the season. Now, the classic beers to have while grilling are American pale ales, IPAs or a nice wheat beer. My personal favorite, though, is the saison, and in honor of the grill lighting ceremony, I grabbed a bottle of the prototypical commercial example: Saison Dupont.
Saison Dupont is brewed by Brasserie Dupont in Tourpes, Belgium, a relatively young brewery founded in 1950. The brewery, located on a working farm, focuses on classic bottle-conditioned Belgian beer styles.
The saison style is probably the perfect summer beer and was developed specifically for consumption during hot weather. Brewing in Europe typically happened only during cool weather to reduce the chances of fires, and this beer was brewed at the end of the season for consumption during the warmer months, when it was typically served to farm workers. This presented an interesting quandary, as the beer had to be strong enough to last until the harvest but weak enough to serve as a refreshing draught without getting the workers plastered. The style is rather broad, and many farms brewed saison with whatever was on hand, including barley, wheat, spelt and local herbs.
Saison Dupont poured a slightly hazy yellow-gold with about a finger’s worth of white head. The head dropped to just a coating pretty quickly, which is uncommon for this style, but the beer continued to leave a very nice lacing on the glass as it was consumed. The aroma is quite light and delicate with a citrusy lemon character dominating over top of wheat and yeast. After a minute or so, I got a slightly sour lemon character, which I liked. I’ve noticed this in some other saisons, and I find that it makes the beer more refreshing.
The mouthfeel was medium; I just really didn’t notice it one way or the other. The carbonation, on the other hand, was moderately high and had an effervescence characteristic of this style. The taste had a bit of a wheat and yeast fullness up front, but it was not nearly as strong as in a witbier or hefeweizen. The real kicker, though, was the citrus character in the taste, with lemon highlights backed up by a sour character like the aroma. The finish was moderately bitter but nothing like an IPA; it worked well in this beer and didn’t leave me thinking that I had been sucking on yarrow.
I really liked this beer, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has a chance to try it. A slightly more available and cheaper saison is Victory’s Helios. Try both, actually, if you get the chance.
Size: 750 mL
ABV: 6.5 percent