As far as beer in the Boston area is concerned, 2011 was the year of the saison.
A few years ago, exactly two saisons were widely available in Massachusetts liquor stores: Saison Dupont, brewed in Belgium, and Hennepin, made by Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, N.Y. And that was only in stores that stocked solid selections of craft beers.
Then came Jack D'Or, the first beer brewed by Cambridge-based Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project. That saison quickly became popular in Boston and then spread elsewhere. This year, interest in saisons exploded. At least half a dozen Massachusetts breweries began making saisons in 2011. Even the venerable Boston Beer Co. put a saison in its summer 12-pack.
What happened? For one thing, drinkers tastes are growing more sophisticated as the craft beer movement matures. Drinkers are branching out beyond IPAs and imperial stouts, exploring more Belgian styles. And brewers taking more risks, experimenting with styles that not necessarily fly off the shelves.
What are your favorite saisons? Post your thoughts in the comments section. I'll have much more about saisons in Saturday's column.
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