It's nearly impossible to talk about saisons without ending the sentence with "Dupont." And because we love Belgian-style beers, we picked up some Brasserie Dupont brews to remind ourselves of how good these beers can be.
Brasserie Dupont is located in French-speaking region of Wallonia in Belgium, not far from the French border, in the town of Tourpes. There has been brewing on the site continuously since 1844. After the DuPont family bought the brewery in 1920, brewer Louis Dupont established the tradition of re-fermenting all of the breweries offerings in bottles. Brewer and 4th generation Dupont family member Olivier Dedeycker took over in the 1990s. He has preserved its historic brewing traditions while upping production to more than 18,000 hectolitres. (Or 15,000 barrels, for you Americans.)
We tried the legendary Saison Dupont alongside three of the brewery's other offerings. Belgian beer-lovers, rejoice!
Reminiscent of a golden dandelion, the beer's big, bubbly head immediately excited us. We detected lots of notes of honey and citrus, but the smells of Belgian yeast infiltrated our noses. Big waves of sulfur, and even skunky aromas, wafted up into our noses. But upon first sip, we found a nice balance between malts and yeast, making it refreshing to drink. Grassy, herbal, bready, citrusy -- this beer had it all. The mouthfeel was very dry, with a very bitter aftertaste thanks to those hops.
"Miel" means "honey" in French and, naturally, Biere de Miel is brewed with honey. It poured a bright sunflower gold, bursting with carbonation. Our first whiff was very similar to that of a hot toddy: just the right amounts of alcohol (bordering on menthol), honey, and spicy clove. Like its Saison brother, we also tasted lots of bready, yeasty notes, but with a touch of peppery spiciness.
A Gruit? We love gruits (see our new book, Make Some Beer, for our Dandelion Gruit recipe)! Like the other beers in the DuPont lineup, this beer poured a beautiful golden color, and smelled of lemongrass, herbals, and a hint of menthol (which almost reminded us of the aroma of a Sharpie). Those same notes came through in the flavor, but it was the back-of-the-throat spiciness that wowed us.
Our last taste of DuPont was this deep copper hued Belgian dark strong ale. We were immediately greeted with aromas of dark raisins, dried plums & figs followed by mild bubblegum and even chocolate. The texture was something of a departure from the previous offerings as well, with a thicker mouth feel and very mild carbonation. All in all, a great way to end this tasting.