We’re presenting our list of 12 great beers for the season. We’ve tasted well over 200 Christmas beers over the years. Some have been bad elves, others have been nothing short of gifts. Some of the ones on this year’s list are relatively easy to find, others are from our archives and beer vault. We hope even the ones from the archives will have stories that will help you find you own path to great beers. Follow these links to find earlier posts in the series: first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth,
Europe in Your Backyard
When we first discovered Saison DuPont many years ago, we were thrilled by its remarkable combination of adventure and balance. We still are. Today’s “Saison” beers, however—on both sides of the Atlantic—tend to overlap the two styles of wild and sour ales. The Saisons of our (relative) youth had a funky offbeat fruitiness, but were far more refreshing than challenging.
DuPont was then, and for us is still, the gold standard. It’s certainly not as rough-hewn as most of the true farmhouse beers, but it is beautifully accessible without sacrificing integrity. Unfortunately, “Saisons” have too often become an excuse for brewers to brew carelessly: embracing infections that brewers have battled against for decades, and fermenting their product at temperatures that do produce distinctive flavors, but at a cost of drinkability. Nevertheless, several modern gems stand out among the newcomers’ attempts at the style.
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