As the weather turns from winter to spring, or if you’re in San Diego spring to more spring, brewers always trot out their seasonal spring offerings. Between wheat beers and mouth puckering sours, craft beer drinkers have a variety of libations to choose from to sustain themselves between allergy attacks. Unlike many breweries, Stone Brewing tends to shy away from seasonal beers, but that changed on Monday with the release of Stone Saison.
Saisons are the perfect beer to transition from spring into summer. Historically, Belgians brewed saisons during the winter to give work to their farmhands. These farmhouse ales contained whatever botanicals were available, and were saved for the workers to drink during the warm summer months. The saison style started on the farm, and Stone Saison is no different.
Stone Brewing took over the struggling La Milpa Organica farm in 2010, and rechristened the 19-acre site as Stone Farms. Besides providing a true farm-to-table experience for diners at either of the Stone Brewing World Bistros, Stone Farms also grows herbs, spices and peppers for the sole purpose of adding additional character to Stone’s beers. Stone Saison is the latest beer to benefit from this unique relationship between farm and brewery.
Like most beers in the style, Stone Saison has a rich golden color and plenty of carbonation. The unmistakable aroma of Belgian yeast wafts up from the beer with small hints of lemon thyme and lavender.
The best way to describe the flavor of Stone Saison is balanced. While there are plenty of things going on between citrus from the lemon peel, herbal notes from the lemon thyme and a floral bouquet from the lavender, no one flavor dominates the others. The beer finishes cleanly on the palate with just a hint of hoppy bitterness to remind you that you’re drinking a Stone beer.
As Stone Saison is a seasonal, it will only be available during the spring and summer months. Availability should be widespread throughout Stone’s massive distribution network in six-packs and draft.