We make little secret here at Crafty Towers of our love for saisons and accompanying belief that they are a wonderful beer for the Aussie climate. So it's always nice to see another one appear, especially it's one that is being released in three different formats. On our last couple of visits to Bright in the Victorian High Country, we've been lucky enough to have a nosy around the back of the brewery where head brewer Jon Seltin has all manner of experimental programs underway. He has involved a little of one of them in these latest releases, although the main beer ' the Saison de Varleí¨ ' remains a pretty traditional take on the Wallonian farmhouse style. It's brewed with Belgian pilsner malt and Australian wheat malt, pours a cloudy golden colour and is, we're told "complex and effervescent". The fruity and spicy character of the beer comes from a unique yeast originally smuggled out of the Brasserie De Blaugies.
As for the variations, one sees the same wort (the hoppy, sweet, sugary water that becomes beer with the addition of yeast) fermented with the classic Saison DuPont yeast and will be available at the brewery bar only. Then there is a handful of "very special kegs" which will be a blend of the Varleí¨ Saison and a three-year-old barrel-aged lambic, to make a rare, one off provision ale. Says Jon: "Finished the harvest? Then lay down your scythe, wipe the sweat from your brow and and revitalise yourself with one of our new Saisons. Only available for farm hands."