While rural communities in Australia are known more for their consumption of session lagers than saisons, it seems fitting that a brewery in farming country would put out farmhouse ales. By this standard New England Brewing Co are certainly fitting, as they’re regularly putting farmhouse styles into their rotation. But the crew aren’t content to let sleeping saisons lie – they’ll poke and prod the style to get it all ruffled up, giving country and city drinkers alike variety even within their farmhouse wheelhouse.
When New England were asked to produce a beer for HPA & Beer Cartel’s Eclipse mixed pack in 2020, they pumped a saison full of Eclipse hops and discovered a new passion. To chase that high again, they returned a year later to the idea of a single hopped India saison, but this time looked to Citra for the flurry of hop character that would infuse the farmhouse ale.
The aromas and flavours in India Saison – Citra mix together in an intriguing way: from a distance, you smell the hops; up close, you smell the yeast. On the tongue, the juicy citrus and the dry, gentle iodine do battle with each other but in a friendly way, like when a cat and a dog that grew up together roll around chewing each other's ears. I find it hard to judge if a hazy lover who professed to disliking saisons would enjoy this beer. But for someone who enjoys both IPAs and saisons, it’s a real treat.
Now for something completely different: for their Big Holiday release for 2021, New England brewed a black saison and stuck it into Tassie whisky barrels for six months to stew.
There’s no orange juice or golden haze here. No, this is all the sweet treats that parents love at Christmas but, for some reason, children’s palates detest. This is a dense fruitcake soaked in sticky plum liqueur and drizzled with dark chocolate, served with a nip of whisky to wash it down. This is the kind of dessert that warms your chest better than any ugly Christmas sweater.
If you need more saison in your life, New England also have their summery Farmhouse Ale 2021 doing the rounds.
Published January 28, 2022 2022-01-28 00:00:00