Emily Hutto set out on a quest to find out how craft-beer brewers across the country defined “saison.” Here’s what she found.
Polling craft-beer artisans about what makes a saison a saison, I received diverse responses, to say the least. Dann Paquette of Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project talked about sessionable English ales; Ryan Greenhagen of Mystic Brewing discussed local ingredients; Jason Yester of Trinity Brewing showed me paintings by impressionist artists; Gordon Schuck of Funkwerks elaborated on the aromatic possibilities of Opal hops; Ron Extract of Jester King Brewery quoted Yvan De Baets; and Chase Healey of Prairie Artisan Ales talked about the weather. In their varied approaches to saison, these brewers demonstrate just how versatile the style is. They’ve led me to the conclusion that a saison is whatever you make it be. Here’s how each of them has made the style his own.