American Saisons: 5 Beers for Spring
For their saison, Delaware-based Dogfish Head collaborated with several other breweries. This group effort from Dogfish, Stone Brewing Company, and Victory Brewing Company is a stellar offering, and — just like with everything Dogfish Head — is anything but normal. This brew relies heavily on herbs, with sage, rosemary, parsley, and thyme all steeped in during the process. The beer pours a perfect straw color, with a dense head. Hops are present in the first taste, but under it come the herbaceous notes, along with a hint of lemon. At 6.8 percent ABV, it’s also a little lighter on the alcohol. (image courtesy Flickr/edwin.bautista)
The spring offering from what may be the hottest craft brewer in the country right now — Denver's New Belgium Brewing — is Prickly Passion. The beer takes a different route than most, bringing fruit, not hops, to the forefront. This concoction is brewed with the juices from passion fruit and prickly pears, the flavors of which are obvious from the get-go, as is the alcohol content. This is a strong beer, coming in at 8.5 percent ABV. Prickly Pear has the nice straw typical of the style, though the head that doesn’t carry as well as some others. However, it finishes pleasantly with a touch of spice and bit of peppery bite.
The lightest of our picks comes from Philadelphia’s Yards Brewing Company. Their saison comes in at 6.5 percent ABV, and makes for a smooth, light quaff. The beer has a hazy look to it, though it does not have the complexity that others do, drinking almost like a refreshing pilsner. There is little spice and nary a sour note, but it does have a strong hint of pear that shows through. The hops are also faint, coming more on the back end than in the opening. Alongside the hops are a grassy bite, which adds a refreshing feel. It also comes packed with carbonation, making it, and all these other beers, the perfect brew to enjoy on a warm, breezy spring day.
—David Covucci, The Drink Nation