Saison beer is a beer style that has its origins in the Province of Hainaut, in the South-West of Belgium. That region has a lot of farmland and until last century, these fields attracted a lot of seasonal workers in summer, to help the local farmers with their harvest. The saison beer (which literally means ‘season’ in French) was brewed by the farmers during the winter period and was the left to referment for about half a year until the summer. Back then, the beer had an alcohol content of about 3%.
Nowadays, saison beers are brewed all year long and they have an alcohol content between 5 and 6.5%. Because of their dry and bitter flavor, they are real thirst-quenchers, who are still ideal to be drunk in summer. They have a color which varies from golden blond to light amber, they are unfiltered top fermentation beers which undergo a second fermentation in the bottle, they are rich in hops and/or spices and they are brewed from mainly barley malt.
Although, it is not absolutely necessary any more for a saison beer to be brewed in the province of Hainaut, most of the beers still are. The most famous one is without a doubt Saison Dupont by the well-known Dupont Brewery. Other beers that are worth mentioning are St-Feuillien Saison, a relatively new beer which is winning one award after the other, Saison de Dottignies by Brewery De Ranke and Saison Silly.