This beer style, the saison, is a Belgium farm-house ale. The name itself – saison – means ‘season’ in French. A traditional saison was a seasonal beer (hence the name!) and would have been lower in alcohol than its modern form. Originally it was brewed to quench the thirsts of the farm labourers as they tilled and harvested the fields in this region. . Being safer than water to drink at the time, you can consider it the porter of Wallonia’s working class as it fulfilled a similar role of providing safe drinking water.
This is a is a top, warm fermented beer which goes unfiltered giving it a hazy straw colour with a thick white head. It imparted a dry bitter taste with acidic flavours like lemon or orange. Overall its has a great, drinkable flavour that does quench your thirst despite the higher alcoholic kick.
As per the bottle, ‘Forest is a delicious organic version of the renowned Belgian Saison style, made world-famous by Brasserie Dupont’s Saison Dupont. Made from 100% organic barley malt and hops, and artesian well water, Foret is earthy, aromatic, rustic and full-flavoured. Great with sharp cheeses, grilled meats and other hearty fare’.
This family run brewery is based in the Wallonia Region of Belgium. This is the French-speaking region which has about 1/2 of the land but 1/3 of the population and is predominantly made up of farmland. The northern section of Belgium, the Flanders Region, has the bulk of the population and economy. The brewery is nestled in the Hainault region’s countryside about 20 minute drive from the border with France. The brewery was bought by the Dupont family in 1920, and has been running ever since based upon traditional methods creating a lovely artisan product.Interesting historical fact: as Belgium has long been known as Europe’s battle ground, the Dupont family itself sought to thwart the effort of the plundering Nazi army. According to Garrett Oliver’s (Brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery) The Brewmaster’s Table, “During World War II, the family buried the vessels in the adjoining fields to save them from being melted into armaments” (p. 192). Thankfully they did, for as he continues, ‘Saison Dupont, brewed on a small farm in Hainaut, is a jewel in Belgium’s brewing crown”. High praise from a heavy hitting brewer.
- Organic cotton comprises approximately 1% of the world’s annual cotton production (240k metric tonnes). Non-organic comes at an extremely heavy cost though, ‘using almost one quarter of all the world’s insecticides and 10% of pesticides, social conditions for cotton growers can be poor, with poverty, health problems and suicide common, and thousands of chemicals are used to turn raw material into clothes, towels, bedding and other items that we put next to our skin every day’ (SOIL Association). Look for the label as well as that of the Fairtrade label to ensure that the environment and farmers are given a fair deal.
- Did you know you can set up your own local organic buying cooperative group? Or that the SOIL Association has a wealth of resources to get you started?
- Maybe you already have a local market or a good selection at your local grocer – good on you. For those of you living in and around Islington, there is an amazing company called Farm Direct which brings the farmer’s market to you. Oh, and they sell organic beer along with stellar meat.