This weekend, Trinity Brewing Company will bring together a line-up of handpicked saisons from craft breweries all around the state at the 2013 Saison Festival in Colorado Springs. The festivities will take place at Trinity's new barrel room at their taphouse in Colorado Springs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saison is a style of beer that the beer world can expect to see more and more of. Originally brewed in Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium, this style of ale tends to be a well-hopped blend fruity and spicy flavors with a champagne-like effervescence from high levels of carbonation. In the past few years it has become an increasingly popular style available at craft breweries in Colorado. Not to mention the state has two of the world's only breweries - Funkwerks in Fort Collins and Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs - that specialize in saison-style beer.
Among the breweries pouring beers are Denver's Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project and River North Brewery, Fort Collins' Black Bottle Brewery and Funkwerks, and Boulder's Twisted Pine Brewing Company. There will be a few out-of-state selections from Kansas City's Boulevard Brewing Company and Salt Lake City's Epic Brewing Company, and Trinity will be pouring at least seven of their own saisons.
"I am always brewing saisons," says Trinity's president Jason Yester. That's quite the understatement —he brews 40 to 50 different saisons each year, using more than 400 spice adjuncts in the process.
Jason, who goes by "Saison Man," says that when he opened Trinity in 2008 saisons weren't popular or prevalent on the craft beer market. "Belgian style ales traditionally didn't do well in the U.S., but I still went for it. Saison has the balance of a pale ale (for a number of years the #1 american style)... a balance that micro-beer drinkers like."
Now more than five years later, a multitude of craft breweries are putting out saison and Trinity's annual Saison Festival continues to grow. It takes place each year around Earth Day, because as Jason says, saison, the French word for season, is an earth and harvest-driven beer style.
Here's a preview of some of what's pouring:
Merle by Trinity Brewing Company: jet black in color, spiced with a blend of sarsaparilla, sassafras, coriander, hibiscus, and cumin creating a perfect balance of spiciness, sweetness, and acidity.
J. Marie by River North Brewing Company: malty with apricot aroma and a dry finish.
Nelson Sauvin by Funkwerks Inc.: subtle aroma of white grapes and a hint of spice from the yeast, fermented with Muscat grapes.
Dry Dock Farmhouse Ale by Dry Dock Brewing Company: brewed with pink peppercorns and coriander, dry citrus finish.
Surette Provision Saison by Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project: zesty, tart and earthy.
For more information about Saison Festival 2013, visit the event Facebook page.