Thirsty Thursday: Prairie Standard
Saison is a Belgian beer from the 19th century. Funkwerks, a Belgian style brewery in Fort Collins, explains it really well as I share from their site below:
Saisons originated in the Wallonia region of southern Belgium during the 19th century. Meaning ‘season’ in French, Saisons were typically brewed during winter months, and stored until summer months when they were given to farm workers as a form of hydration when water wasn’t suitable for drinking. Brewing in the winter provided farmers with work during an otherwise slow time of year. Also, spent grain from brew days was used for animal feed, providing livestock with nutrients when grain was unable to grow, making brewing beneficial to multiple aspects of farm life.
In order for the beer to last through the season without becoming infected, Saisons were brewed to have a dry flavor profile and hops and spices were usually added for their bacteriostatic properties. Because they were not brewed in aseptic environments, multistrain fermentations took place giving the beer a ‘wild’ flavor and adding to its complexity. Since each farmhouse had individual recipes, brewing techniques, and microflora, beers were vastly different from farm to farm. What defines these beers as a style are an extremely high attenuation and a spicy flavor profile due to the unique yeast strain.
As beer became more readily available and competition from imported lagers increased, many farmhouse breweries closed and Saisons became a dying style. Thankfully a number of farmhouses made the switch to full time breweries, and a resurgence of interest in Saisons, especially in North America, have made them popular as specialty beers today.
I got into Saison a couple of years ago and I’ve been so pleased with its rapidly growing popularity. While I’m not really a Belgian beer lover at all, there’s something about the funky, tangy, unique flavor profile of Saison that I really dig.
I’d never tried beers from Prairie so when I came across their Standard brew, I knew I had to try it. For me, the only thing that could make a Saison better would be to escalate the hop level and Prairie does not disappoint. This was citrusy, with hints of lime, and had almost a hay quality to it. I thought it was great and I see further Prairie deliciousness in my future.