Food & Drink: Seduced by Saison
Belgian ales are known for superior quality and exquisite world class taste.
The serving ritual itself reads like a seduction: a vessel carefully retrieved from a chilled cellar held supportively not to disturb the sediment. The tissue wrapping is parted with care to reveal a shapely bottle. The wire cage unhooked releases the cork with a sigh.
Frothy ale flows lovingly into elegant glassware shaped to hold the subtle bouquet and beads of seductive flavor. Anticipation surrenders to the touch of chilled glass, and inevitably the act of consumption — a world class affair indeed.
My affection for Belgian ale started in in 2005 when I picked up the July issue of Men’s Journal. I typically don’t read this sort but the cover claimed, “The 8 Best Beers on Earth - Bar None!” Thumbing through the article I was introduced to La Chouffe, Rochefort, and Fantome for the very first time. Saison Dupont was voted best in show, described as “earthy, herbal, and impossibly delicious”. Intrigued I quickly concluded the world of Belgian beer deserved further attention, and I would start at the top.
Saison, meaning "season" in French, is perhaps one of the most interesting and diverse beer styles in existence. The style does not have the pedigree of a Porter or Bock but rather humble beginnings in Southern Belgium. Saisons are complex, well balanced and refreshing, which makes a perfect summer companion.