What is a "Tart Saison"?

We constantly receive questions about sour beer and the difference between the styles. The word "sour" seems to have different meanings to each person. Our opinion is that "sour" is a description of flavor just like bitterness. Tart Saison, Berliner Weisse, Flanders Red and Lambic are all styles of beer that have a dominant sour flavor component. 

In particular, a lot of confusion has occurred with "Tart Saison" and that is probably due to it being a fairly new term. Most references to this term are only a couple years old. It is not a "style" that has even been identified by the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) or the BA (Brewer's Association) in their guidelines. So all we can provide is our reasoning for using the term.

At Council Brewing, it is meant to describe a style of beer that we believe is similar to the original Saison drank during the harvest by the "Saisoniers". The style of "Saison" is highly debated and many interpretations have been made. Our inspiration, came from the description in the Farmhouse Ales book written by Phil Markowski. The section that resonated with us, mentioned how closely related Saison was with modern day Lambic. Both of these styles were being produced in the same time era with similar available technology. The only difference is that Lambic producers have kept their traditional practices, while many Saison producers adopted the sanitation techniques and equipment of the more modern German brewers.

Pellicle (bio-film from Brettanomyces) on the top of Blueberry Beatitude Tart Saison

Pellicle (bio-film from Brettanomyces) on the top of Blueberry Beatitude Tart Saison

We used this little bit of history as well as our thoughts on the ultimate beverage after a long day of manual labor to generate a flavor profile. This profile is very dry (flavor leaves your palette quickly), tart/sour ( encourages another sip), low alcohol (can be enjoyed by the glassful) and has plenty of yeast character (unique flavors to discover as you work your way through the glass).

We hope this gives you more perspective on this style and a  better idea of what we mean when we say "Tart Saison". For more info on our Beatitude Tart Saison please watch our short introductory video.

Introducing Council Brewing's Beatitude Tart Saison.