Wild Beer Co Epic Saison (330ml, 5.0% ABV)

Belgium. Land of chocolate and mayonnaise on chips. Home to the EU, Poirot and Tintin. It is also, according to some, the most unspeakable swear-word in the universe.

But what a beer country! Belgium boasts a bewildering array of styles, from laid-back, easy drinking wheat beers to the astonishingly alcoholic creations brewed by monks in Trappist monasteries.

Saison comes from Wallonia – the southern part of Belgium bordering France. Historically, it was made on farms during winter and spring, stored, and broken out to quench the thirst of the labourers during the summer. Hence ‘saison’ – seasonal beer.

The Wild Beer Co’s Epic Saison is also made on a farm, though one in Somerset rather than Belgium. The bottle is a tall, elegant affair featuring an angry orange stag and print you can feel. It’s made with pilsner malt so it should be a bit like lager, right? Nope. Sorachi Ace hops from the US, so maybe more like an American pale ale? Nope. It’s inspired by Belgian beer so it’ll be strong, surely? Only 5%.

The truthWild Beer is, no-one really agrees on what saison should taste like. It’s more a tradition than a style.

In the glass it’s a straw yellow with a short-lived effervescence. It smells very different to most beer – sherbet and lemons and a little sourness. The taste is dominated by lemon and lime with a hint of spice, ending with a lip-smacking tartness. Very refreshing. It’s dry and bitter, but not at all like an English bitter.

If you fancy something different after a long day tilling the rich loam of the modern office, this might just be the ticket.

Written by Richard Salsbury


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