les saisons

Dry-Hopped Brett Saison
Aged in French Oak Barrels

The Beer:

Les Saisons (The Seasons) is a series of barrel-aged rustic style ales that are fermented with Brettanomyces and Saison yeast, then dry-hopped to give aromas of the season. Our Spring 2016 release uses East Kent Goldings and Hallertau Blanc hops to bring a fresh floral note. The combination of the barrels and yeast provide an earthy wine character and a dry finish.Pour into a tulip glass andallow plenty of space for the foam to grow and release its bouquet.

Spring 2016 Release: Brewed in Sepetember 15, 2015 and released Released April 1, 2016.

The idea for the "Les Saisons" series really started with a name. (This is usually the opposite for us, naming beer is a struggle, but that's another post). An easy play on words, as "Saison" means "Season" in French, we will be doing a series of seasonal saison-style beers. Our little Council Brewing spin is that we will be using strains of Brettanomyces and different hop varieties to incorporate the flavors of the season.

Since we enjoyed the profile we got from our first barrel fermented Saison, Nicene, we knew right away that we would guide it in a similar direction. However, we didn't want this beer quite so tart (still a splash to add a crisp note) and more in line with the profile of rustic European Saisons being brewed today.  We used a simple grist for this beer to add some extra protein for a decent body in the finished product.

After brainstorming what flavors make us think of springtime: flowers, soil after a rain storm, grassy, chaparral, herbs. We saw a theme of earthy flavors that still have a bright floral component.  We are lucky enough to have a large selection of Brett strains in our house library that we could be used to match the spring time flavors. We picked White Lab's Brettanomyces Bruxellensis (Brett Brux) ,a strain well known for providing earthy or farmhouse notes that remind us of damp earth after a rain storm. 

Next, we wanted to build on that profile with a big dry hop addition immediately before being packaged. The idea with this addition, is that we want some flavor evolution in the bottle. Meaning when this beer is first released, the hop addition will be a major component in the profile, but with time it will fade and allow the Brettanomyces flavors to dominant. And somewhere in the middle it should be difficult to tell if the flavors you are tasting are hop or yeast derived. As for the specific hops we choose a blend to combine very traditional, noble hop flavors with brighter, New World flavors. We choose a combination of East Kent Goldings, known for their floral, almost rose-like notes and Hallertau Blanc to add that bright, fruit component.

This batch was aged in neutral French oak barrels (second use after Nicene) to pick up some mouthfeel building tannins (and a little leftover house bugs). Future batches of this beer will be aged in our new 30 BBL American oak foeders, so we can have more to enjoy each season. 

The bottles have been conditioned with a nice high level of effervescence and will be available in the tasting room and select retailers.