Belgian, IPA, Saison

Weekend Beers

This weekend, I enjoyed two Belgian style American brews: Ovila Abbey Saison and Cali-Belgique IPA.

The Ovila Abbey Saison is a collaboration beer between Sierra Nevada and the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux. This is a beautiful bottle of beer. It stood out on the shelf commanding my attention-and it got it. This beer shows the range of Saison. Nowhere near as dry as what you would typically expect from a Saison. This beer was more like a Saison mixed with a Tripel. And how could you go wrong with that.20130902-122304.jpg

The second beer was a Belgian inspired IPA by Stone. Half the bottles are labeled Cali-Belgie and half Cali-Belgique. The idea of brewing an IPA and adding Belgian yeast sounds simple enough and makes you think “hey, I could of thought of that.” But you didn’t and Stone did, and it’s brilliant. I will add an IPA with Belgian yeast to my must homebrew list because this beer is delicious. It tasted like a Belgian Tripel with lots of hops. The purist, old world beer side of me loved the Belgian spiciness and the American in me loved the smack in the face from the hops.
20130902-123939.jpgI love Belgian beer, who doesn’t, right? But American takes on Belgian beer are making me fall in love all over again. Everything New Belgium is doing, to the beers I just mentioned, the New World is shaking things up.


Tis the Season for Saison

It’s interesting how beer styles become popular. Right now, everywhere I look I’m running in to some form of IPA – Imperial, Double, Dark – and Saison. I’ve never had a Saison , which is odd because I love Belgian beers. For my first Saison, I went with the gold standard, the one by which all others are measured: Saison DUPONT. It is a dry, refreshing beer. Perfect for the summer. I now get the appeal.


Having a good Saison under my belt – in my tummy – I stumbled across a local Santa Fe 25th Anniversary Saison 88. For $1.50 I had to get it. I loved the graphic on the can. Is it blasphemy to say I liked this one more than the Dupont? I did. A touch sweeter and with hints of grapefruit. My wife picked up on the citrus notes immediately and she was not a fan of the Dupont.


I’ve put Saison on my list of beers to brew. Besides being a delicious style of beer, Saison yeast likes a warm temperature, which in New Mexico is perfect. I don’t have to run my AC all day to protect my fermenting beer. It’s also a broad style which people seem to run with by adding hints of fruits or herbs. New Mexico lavender in a Saison? Maybe.