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Old 04-24-2010, 06:18 AM  
NewChief NewChief is offline
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50 Beers to Try Before You Die

Thought the beer snobs here might like this article (and probably critique the hell out of it).

http://www.wisdeo.com/articles/view_post/2984
(CBS) You've heard of "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"?

How about 50 to try before you die?!
Spoiler!

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Old 07-31-2014, 07:58 AM   #2686
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I would recommend Lukas out in Martin City. It's a little off the beaten path, but the selection and competitive prices will more than make up for it. The place has a MASSIVE beer selection. Just all kinds of stuff.
Easy to get to from 71 re: his route to St Joe.
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:06 AM   #2687
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Easy to get to from 71 re: his route to St Joe.
Yep, 5 miles west on MO 150.
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Old 08-02-2014, 07:20 PM   #2688
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had their pop-up for the first time...delicious...love this session trend
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:00 PM   #2689
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Reaper, I've got a question about saisons/farmhouse ales. Actually a couple. I originally set out to ask you this via pm, but I figured others might like to read your response as well.

They've quickly become my favorite type of beer. When I think Saison/Farmhouse Ale, I think of a golden color, but I've come across a few dark ones as well. One was so different that I didn't even realize it was a saison/farmhouse ale until I looked it up afterwards. My first question is this....what exactly classifies a beer as a saison/farmhouse ale? I know that they originated in Belgium as beers brewed in the winter months to serve to farm workers in the summer. Is that the only requirement, to be an ale brewed in winter in cooler temperatures?

I looked on Wiki and read that they have a very broad definition. I was hoping you could educate me a bit.

Also, my second question. Is there any difference at all between Saison and Farmhouse Ale? I'm under the impression that there is not a difference.

Thanks, bud.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:21 PM   #2690
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybone McTimmerson View Post
Reaper, I've got a question about saisons/farmhouse ales. Actually a couple. I originally set out to ask you this via pm, but I figured others might like to read your response as well.

They've quickly become my favorite type of beer. When I think Saison/Farmhouse Ale, I think of a golden color, but I've come across a few dark ones as well. One was so different that I didn't even realize it was a saison/farmhouse ale until I looked it up afterwards. My first question is this....what exactly classifies a beer as a saison/farmhouse ale? I know that they originated in Belgium as beers brewed in the winter months to serve to farm workers in the summer. Is that the only requirement, to be an ale brewed in winter in cooler temperatures?

I looked on Wiki and read that they have a very broad definition. I was hoping you could educate me a bit.

Also, my second question. Is there any difference at all between Saison and Farmhouse Ale? I'm under the impression that there is not a difference.

Thanks, bud.
That is actually a question so complex that it has taken me well over 100 pages in my book project to answer. I've been to Belgium to figure out the answer to this. I've pored over 130 year old brewing documents in French with Yvan de Baets from Brasserie de la Senne to figure out the answer to this. The answers I'm about to give are the shortest, cleanest ones that I can give, but know that there's more to it than this...

1.) Saison is an example of a Farmhouse Ale, but not all Farmhouse Ales are Saisons. Saison refers to a style brewed in the Hainut province of Wallonia (the French-speaking Southern region of Belgium). The other Farmhouse Ale styles are Biere de Garde (brewed in France; it is maltier, less hoppy, less bright: think apples, nuts, & must rather than Saison's stonefruit, hay, and funk) and Grisette (think beer brewed for miners rather than beer brewed for farm laborers; these are light & very hoppy, lacking Saison's historic funk & acidic aspects).

2.) You essentially have the basic story down: indeed Saisons were brewed in the winter to keep for the summer & harvest seasons so that saisoniers (seasonal farm workers) could drink something out in the fields. Most American brewers have taken Saison to be a wide-open style that they can experiment wildly with. This is because there isn't really a stylistic definition. We tend to think of Saison Dupont as the prototypical Saison: golden, hoppy, very fruity, earthy also, a bit phenolic too. So up until maybe 3 years ago I'd say 90% of American saisons were direct takes on Dupont, using the unique Dupont yeast strain. But Dupont isn't actually the prototype in Belgium; it was just the first saison to be imported to the U.S.

The majority of saisons throughout Belgian brewing history have essentially been amber ales. Farms tended to use whatever grain and whatever ingredients they had on hand, so a glass of Saison could vary dramatically from village to village, depending on what was growing in the area. Even more historically, Saisons were fermented with wild yeasts, so they were at least partly sour. American saison brewing is only recently (with Hill Farmstead & its followers, like Prairie, Crooked Stave, Sante Adarius, etc.) re-discovering that lactic sour edge that old saisons used to have. That edge kind of went away when Belgian brewing became more of a commercial thing than a necessary-for-sustenance-and-hydration thing, as unless you have expensive quality control...once you introduce wild yeasts & bacteria into your brewhouse basically every beer you brew is going to be sour.

If you want to taste THE most authentic Saisons then you should seek out Brasserie de Blaugies, imported by Shelton Bros. They are a small, small brewery a stone's throw from the French border, ran by a couple of school teachers, who only make farmhouse ales. Their La Moneuse is the archetypal amber saison, and their spelt saison (Saison d'Epeautre) is as stone-cold classic as anything Dupont makes.

There are no rules anymore. We're so far removed from the original cultural contexts in which the saison style arose. That word is slapped on anything that is dry & hoppy & fruity & funky (or at least tries to be) and there's nothing we can do about it. I would personally like to see a recognized difference between Saison and "American Farmhouse Ale," but I'm also a big proponent of label protections for all sorts of historic beers styles.

Hope all of this helps a bit.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:47 PM   #2691
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That is actually a question so complex that it has taken me well over 100 pages in my book project to answer. I've been to Belgium to figure out the answer to this. I've pored over 130 year old brewing documents in French with Yvan de Baets from Brasserie de la Senne to figure out the answer to this. The answers I'm about to give are the shortest, cleanest ones that I can give, but know that there's more to it than this...

1.) Saison is an example of a Farmhouse Ale, but not all Farmhouse Ales are Saisons. Saison refers to a style brewed in the Hainut province of Wallonia (the French-speaking Southern region of Belgium). The other Farmhouse Ale styles are Biere de Garde (brewed in France; it is maltier, less hoppy, less bright: think apples, nuts, & must rather than Saison's stonefruit, hay, and funk) and Grisette (think beer brewed for miners rather than beer brewed for farm laborers; these are light & very hoppy, lacking Saison's historic funk & acidic aspects).

2.) You essentially have the basic story down: indeed Saisons were brewed in the winter to keep for the summer & harvest seasons so that saisoniers (seasonal farm workers) could drink something out in the fields. Most American brewers have taken Saison to be a wide-open style that they can experiment wildly with. This is because there isn't really a stylistic definition. We tend to think of Saison Dupont as the prototypical Saison: golden, hoppy, very fruity, earthy also, a bit phenolic too. So up until maybe 3 years ago I'd say 90% of American saisons were direct takes on Dupont, using the unique Dupont yeast strain. But Dupont isn't actually the prototype in Belgium; it was just the first saison to be imported to the U.S.

The majority of saisons throughout Belgian brewing history have essentially been amber ales. Farms tended to use whatever grain and whatever ingredients they had on hand, so a glass of Saison could vary dramatically from village to village, depending on what was growing in the area. Even more historically, Saisons were fermented with wild yeasts, so they were at least partly sour. American saison brewing is only recently (with Hill Farmstead & its followers, like Prairie, Crooked Stave, Sante Adarius, etc.) re-discovering that lactic sour edge that old saisons used to have. That edge kind of went away when Belgian brewing became more of a commercial thing than a necessary-for-sustenance-and-hydration thing, as unless you have expensive quality control...once you introduce wild yeasts & bacteria into your brewhouse basically every beer you brew is going to be sour.

If you want to taste THE most authentic Saisons then you should seek out Brasserie de Blaugies, imported by Shelton Bros. They are a small, small brewery a stone's throw from the French border, ran by a couple of school teachers, who only make farmhouse ales. Their La Moneuse is the archetypal amber saison, and their spelt saison (Saison d'Epeautre) is as stone-cold classic as anything Dupont makes.

There are no rules anymore. We're so far removed from the original cultural contexts in which the saison style arose. That word is slapped on anything that is dry & hoppy & fruity & funky (or at least tries to be) and there's nothing we can do about it. I would personally like to see a recognized difference between Saison and "American Farmhouse Ale," but I'm also a big proponent of label protections for all sorts of historic beers styles.

Hope all of this helps a bit.
Wonderful. You did not disappoint. The part about the sour edges being re-introduced into American brewing was definitely interesting. I have a Prairie Artisan Prairie Somewhere in the fridge right now that's labeled as a sour farmhouse ale. I've been hesitant to try it because sour isn't really my thing as far as beers. I'll break it open tomorrow to get a sense of the older farmhouse ales.

Quote:
The majority of saisons throughout Belgian brewing history have essentially been amber ales. Farms tended to use whatever grain and whatever ingredients they had on hand, so a glass of Saison could vary dramatically from village to village, depending on what was growing in the area.
This part right here, I assume, would be why there has been such a broad definition, and why American brewers figured they could get wild with the experimentation.

I don't think the distinction of an American Farmhouse Ale is a bad idea at all.

Anyways, thanks for taking the time to lay that out. I knew you were writing something on the subject, and I'd love to read it when it's complete.

I'll also look into Brasserie de Blaugies.

One last question. I have not been much of a fan of the darker farmhouse ales. Is there one you would recommend?
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:29 AM   #2692
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Wonderful. You did not disappoint. The part about the sour edges being re-introduced into American brewing was definitely interesting. I have a Prairie Artisan Prairie Somewhere in the fridge right now that's labeled as a sour farmhouse ale. I've been hesitant to try it because sour isn't really my thing as far as beers. I'll break it open tomorrow to get a sense of the older farmhouse ales.



This part right here, I assume, would be why there has been such a broad definition, and why American brewers figured they could get wild with the experimentation.

I don't think the distinction of an American Farmhouse Ale is a bad idea at all.

Anyways, thanks for taking the time to lay that out. I knew you were writing something on the subject, and I'd love to read it when it's complete.

I'll also look into Brasserie de Blaugies.

One last question. I have not been much of a fan of the darker farmhouse ales. Is there one you would recommend?
I can't recall having a dark or black saison that has really impressed me. It's a weird take on the style that I don't get. I know that Hill Farmstead & Sante Adarius make a couple, but I'm not putting in the effort to trade for them. About the darkest I tolerate is a Fantome Hiver or Fantome de Noel, and those are just dark amber.

Wait, now that I'm thinking about it, I remember Stillwater's two dark saisons -- Exsistent and A Saison Darkly -- being pretty good. Not amazing, but tasty beers that blur between farmhouse ale and old-school porter.
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:36 AM   #2693
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Reaper,

How long would you cellar a bottle of Love Child? Just curious.
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Old 08-05-2014, 08:57 AM   #2694
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You could easily cellar a bottle of LC for 2-3 years. I have still bottles of Love Child 2 and 3 that I occasionally open and they're still fine.
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:50 AM   #2695
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Reaper,

How long would you cellar a bottle of Love Child? Just curious.
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You could easily cellar a bottle of LC for 2-3 years. I have still bottles of Love Child 2 and 3 that I occasionally open and they're still fine.

I concur with phisherman. Theoretically they can last for a decade, but you'll probably reach the point of rapidly diminishing returns after 3 or 4 years.
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:51 AM   #2696
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You could easily cellar a bottle of LC for 2-3 years. I have still bottles of Love Child 2 and 3 that I occasionally open and they're still fine.
Yea, I'm more looking for the sweet spot with them. I was listening to one of the Boulevard guys and he said that it doesn't need to be cellared that long because it's already been somewhat cellared.
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:04 AM   #2697
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Yea, I'm more looking for the sweet spot with them. I was listening to one of the Boulevard guys and he said that it doesn't need to be cellared that long because it's already been somewhat cellared.
The answer to that question is kind of a moving target. The mix of beers that make up any variant of Love Child all have been aged for varying degrees of time before they're blended into the finished product.

I actually have a good friend that is a brewer for Boulevard and he's constantly told me that the "sweet spot" is when it's fresh. His opinion is that the beers have been aged and mixed so that they taste the best and represent what they wanted out of the beer right then. Sure, you can age the beer, but who says that it will improve or even change at all? In my opinion, the LC series beers haven't really changed heavily over time anyway, other than LC 1. That stuff got just stupid sour.
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:07 AM   #2698
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The answer to that question is kind of a moving target. The mix of beers that make up any variant of Love Child all have been aged for varying degrees of time before they're blended into the finished product.

I actually have a good friend that is a brewer for Boulevard and he's constantly told me that the "sweet spot" is when it's fresh. His opinion is that the beers have been aged and mixed so that they taste the best and represent what they wanted out of the beer right then. Sure, you can age the beer, but who says that it will improve or even change at all? In my opinion, the LC series beers haven't really changed heavily over time anyway, other than LC 1. That stuff got just stupid sour.
Cool. That's similar to what the other guy from Boulevard was saying.
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:38 AM   #2699
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I can't recall having a dark or black saison that has really impressed me. It's a weird take on the style that I don't get. I know that Hill Farmstead & Sante Adarius make a couple, but I'm not putting in the effort to trade for them. About the darkest I tolerate is a Fantome Hiver or Fantome de Noel, and those are just dark amber.

Wait, now that I'm thinking about it, I remember Stillwater's two dark saisons -- Exsistent and A Saison Darkly -- being pretty good. Not amazing, but tasty beers that blur between farmhouse ale and old-school porter.
Stillwater's Existent is what finally prompted me to ask you that question. I had a bottle last night. It was decent. However, like you, I've never found a dark farmhouse ale good enough to make me a fan of the style.
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:45 AM   #2700
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I just pass on the dark saisons. Never found one that compared all that favorably to my least favorite regular saisons. And some have just been a hot mess.

Though Fantomes can be dark, the "experimental" nature of Dany's beers make it hard to classify them in any style, other than farmhouse ale.
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