Beer Rediscovered Spring 2017

Saison Dupont – Lew Bryson

Lew Bryson
Beer and spirits author

Crisp, spicy, refreshing and balanced are the adjectives Lew Bryson uses to describe one of his all-time favorite beers. He says it should be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. “I’ve served Saison Dupont at celebrations – birthdays, New Year’s Eve, graduations – and I’ve shared a bottle with my wife, while we were stripping wallpaper.”

Saisons, also called farmhouse ales, originated in Belgium. Think of the style as a unique pale ale. Saisons are light in body, with a dry finish. But the Belgian yeast creates flavors you don’t find in typical pale ales. Your first sip of Saison Dupont starts off with a pleasant, thirst-quenching bitterness, followed by spicy hops, a touch of pepper and stone fruit notes. Yes, saisons are great thirst-quenchers, but the style is also wonderful with food.

“Saison Dupont works really well with food – especially seafood,” offers Bryson. “I’ve had a hard time finding another beer that works as well with such a wide range of fish and shellfish; maybe not fra diavolo style, but most others. I think it’s the effervescence and the spice. It’s also great with a variety of cheeses.”

The Dupont brewery in Belgium is now run by Master Brewer Olivier Dedeycker, fourth generation of the Dupont family. “Olivier’s attention to detail is incomparable,” says Bryson who believes that Dedeycker’s approach, deeply rooted in history, “ensures the beer’s consistency and authenticity.” And it’s the reason why it takes 60+ days to make one bottle of Saison Dupont.

“Dupont’s saison deserves to be rediscovered because of its effortless consistency paired with a beautiful level of complexity. It doesn’t shout, it doesn’t need to. The flavor of these Belgian beers runs the gamut from crisply refreshing to deeply complex, and Saison Dupont sits right in the middle of that. There’s always room for it in my drinking schedule,” says Bryson.

So, why do people overlook this beer, even though it’s been called the best in the world? Bryson thinks it’s “for the same reason they overlook a lot of the Belgian classics: familiarity has bred complacency. When American craft brewers produce a fleet of saisons, the original gets lost.”

Giving the beer one last plug, Bryson adds, “Saison Dupont is so complex, it satisfies the most seasoned beer connoisseur, yet so approachable that a novice beer drinker can appreciate it as well. This beer makes friends easily. Beer lovers should ‘rediscover’ Saison Dupont to simply enjoy it, but also to establish the mark for judging American versions. Many American saisons don’t measure up, or worse, overshoot the mark. Saisons need some balance, some restraint, and Dupont has it instinctively.”

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