Over the last year or so there seems to have been a lot of brewers trying their hand at Saisons, some with better results than others.
Bristol Beer Factory’s attempt is pretty good, with a very nice spicy fruit and yeast aroma and an inviting hazy marmalade colour.
For me the flavours share a lot with wheat beers rather than “traditional” Saisons, with a big fried banana backbone, coated in toffee and bitter sweet with burned sugar and cloves.
There’s some lavender and a dash of liquorice too, and then the hops are elderflower and hazel leaf dry, sappy and sharp with lemon and lime juice.
Over all this there’s a very nice yeasty bread dough on clean brushed steel.
However good this is (and Summer Wine’s Saison was terrific too) I had to wonder throughout drinking this if you could really make a Saison in England when the name ought to be specific to French and Belgian (Wallonian?) farmhouse beers.
Then I thought, if you consider just how much Saison DuPont makes then they must have a bloody big farmhouse, so big in fact to be (if you’ll excuse a musical simili) a Major label releasing Indie records.
And so the long and short of it, for me at least, is that I don’t really care what you call this beer, it just tastes really good.