by Jenn Wirtz, Der Braumeister Restaurant owner & beer drinker
I am still sore about Germany’s loss in the World Cup and hesitant to celebrate any other country and its success, but beer counts as a loophole. During this time of year, I celebrate with Belgian farmhouse saison ales in a nod to Belgian National Day on July 21. They are crisp and hydrating in the summer heat. Lucky for me the craft movement here in the USA is creating wonderful farmhouse ales that can compete with any traditional Belgians. Until recently it was a dying breed of ale, but American craft brewers have changed this. We reinvented and brought back the style with slightly higher alcohol content and funky new twists versus the typical hay and earth tastes.
I have 3 current favorites and we sell all at Der Braumeister. My, now bordering obsession, started with Goose Island’s Sofie. It is highly carbonated and to some that have never tried this style of beer previously, would think it tastes like a sparkling semi-dry wine. However, my true love is now with Halia. In Hawaiian it means “remembrance of a loved one” and was brewed in memory of a Goose Island brewer who loved peaches. This has a sour taste that quenches my thirst like no other beer. Halia’s 7.5%abv is perfect for my one and done weeknight mantra. Unfortunately, this speciality beer that is brewed in oak wine barrels does not come cheap.
On the more affordable side I turn to my friend and local brewer, Karl Spiesman of Cleveland’s Brick and Barrel. We currently serve his Noble Saison we at Der Brau for $6 a pour. Noble is a blonde farmhouse ale made with a Riesling grape. It is a bit sweeter like an a German Eiswein, and weighs a bit heavier with volume like a tripel. One of the characteristics Karl loves about a good saison is the varitial temperatures at which you can enjoy saison brews. “Saisons are within my top three favorite styles of beer,” says Spiesman. And to this beer drinker, it shows with his stunning Noble ale. Prost!