This year the Greater Wellington Brewday Festival in Martinborough has come up with the festive brew theme of Summer of Saison. If the wine world can have Summer of Riesling then we can have Summer of Saison.
So the Wellington breweries are all busy brewing sessionable festival friendly interpretations of the farmhouse style that hails from Wallonia in Belgium. Something I am relatively happy about as I am a big fan of the style and had just finished a series of trial brews for future North End beers.
One of the problems we faced is that we are not yet in a position where it made sense to have a full production batch of the festive brew (2000L or 800L depending on the brewery) so we called in a favour with my good friend Chris from Kereru Brewing Co and are set to brew our saison next Sunday on his pilot plant. Chris was short on fermentor space so we called in another favour and have borrowed a 100L fermentor from Mike at Panhead. This all highlights what awesome people brewers are and how if we can we will help each other out.
My take on the saison style will be called Le Chaleureux Rivage , the French name referencing Wallonia, the French speaking region of Belgium that is home to the style. Le Chaleureux Rivage translates as ‘the expansive coast’ or probably more correctly ‘the warming/hearty coast’ . So it is named vaguely for our base, Long Beach and precisely for our spiritual homeland Kapiti.
The beer in question, if all goes to plan will be dry , spicy , and fruity with a light New Zealand hop character. The challenge from the Brewday crew was to create a session strength Saison, at 5.5%abv many would question our beer’s session status but I don’t feel that such dry styles work well below 5%abv. You can check out the details of Le Chaleureux Rivage here.
As there will only be about 80L of this batch of Le Chaleureux Rivage available if you want to try it I recommend buying a ticket to the festival here, it will be a great day. SANTE! KHM