Strange Fellows / Modern Times
Saison’s are enjoying a bit of a revival right now. Traditionally, the saison (meaning “season” in French) was in fact a Belgian-style beer brewed in the early spring for summer consumption. 19th-century farmers would brew these beers in winter to help sustain workers on their farms during the hot summer months that followed. Hence why the style is often referred to as a ‘farmhouse ale’. These beers tended to be fruity, refreshing and lower in alcohol.
Modern day saisons can vary wildly in style (especially when interpreted by countless microbreweries). In additional to your classic farmhouse-style saison (light and sessionable), modern saisons can also be more hop-forward and higher in alcohol, dark and spicy, bone dry or even lip-puckeringly sour. Although one might question whether these latter varieties still count as “saisons”, there’s no doubt that craft breweries are taking the style to new and interesting places.
Strange Times for Modern Fellows is a collaboration brew between Vancouver based Strange fellows Brewing and San Diego’s Modern Times Beer. Fermented with a unique multiculture, the beer is bottle-conditioned to allow the yeast to naturally carbonate after fermentation is complete. Strange Times has some of the characteristics of traditional saisons (approachable, crisp and refreshing), but with a higher alcohol content than your classic farmhouse ale. It is complex but also refined, with characteristics reminiscent of some german-style dry white wines. Pineapple and lychee flavours dominate and you’re even left the same sharp dryness you would get after eating a slice of pineapple. Personally this is exactly what I would drink after a long day toiling away on the farm!
Light hazy pale golden appearance with a fresh peachy glow. A light head that dissipates fairly quickly. Tropical fruit on the nose, accompanied by juicy pineapple, lychee and hints of peach and mango. Taste is dry and tart but well balanced. Crisp and refreshing. Lemon zest, lime cordial and yet more tropical fruit. Sharp finish, like you would get after eating pineapple.
Will I like it?
If you’re a fan of either saisons or sour styles then this will likely be right up your street. If you’re new to the style, I would actually say that this is a great place to start. It’s light, refreshing and approachable enough that you’ll probably enjoy this. Try pairing with farmhouse cheeses, cured meats or a light salad.