Along with sour IPA, the next style we have started focusing on is sour saison. This is a cool project that I am working on with Julien-Pierre Bourgon, bar manager at Masseria in D.C. Julien is a both a very talented mixologist and a beer guy, a rare combination. His drinks have some very interesting but functional preparation of ingredients, similar to what we strive for with adjuncts. The saisons we want to create are all modern cocktail-inspired–I believe the style is a great canvas to work with.
What is a sour saison? That is pretty open to interpretation, but for us, it is a kettle-soured beer fermented with saison yeast. What makes it different than Berliner weisse, or other kettle-soured styles? Saison yeast creates a drier beer, which increases the sourness, and adds typical esters, most of which are overshadowed by lactic acid, but some of which carry through in the flavor.
The first sour saison we made was Endless Summer, a sour rye saison made with basil and lemongrass from the brewery garden. Six ounces of each per barrel, boiled for two minutes, will add a nice flavor to the beer. The resulting beer was like summer in a glass.
Here’s a list of past and upcoming sour saisons:
Endless Summer: Rye, basil, lemongrass
Drifting Away: Blueberries and thyme
Tears in Rain: Passionfruit and molasses
Siamese Dream: Pumpkin spice
Let Go: Pineapple, Anise, and turbinado sugar
Something for the Pain: Guava, Thai chili
Thank You: Cranberries and sage
Wide Awake: Coffee
Waiting for the End: Douglas fir, coconut, and lime
More Than Anything: Oranges, mangos, passionfruit