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Try-It Thursday

January 8, 2015

Q mark

Bridge Road Brewers, Beechworth

Chevalier Saison

Saison, 6%

As the weather warms up and the lawns need ‘harvesting’ on a more regular basis, a young man’s thoughts turn to his forefathers and his forefather’s forefathers who worked the fields, toiled for hours under burning suns and…..drank saisons during their breaks. OH & S may have put paid to the general habit of drinking on the job but we surely owe a great debt of gratitude to those farmhands (and their thoughtful bosses) who provided a refreshingly tart and thirst-quenchingly spritzy beer that takes its name from the French word for ‘season’.

And to the beer;

Bridge Road Brewers website says;

“This beer is quite unique, light straw in colour, with a tight bright white head. Aromas are dominated by esters and phenolic characters, owing to the Saison yeast strain, which also gives the beer its characteristic tart, dry and acidic profile. This citrus character combined with grassy hop flavours make this a great food beer, try it with anything from seafood to blue cheese.”

James Smith, The Crafty Pint;BRB SAISON

“A superb recreation of the classic Belgian farmhouse style, this captures all of the delicate spices and fruit essences you would want in a Saison and was deservedly shortlisted for Best Victorian Beer at the 2010 Australian International Beer Awards. Its part citrusy, part spicy aroma comes from the particular yeast strain used as well as the addition of different fruits, including – on occasion – locally farmed quince. Fantastically refreshing and with a tart, dry finish, it’s great with a wide range of foods ‘ even breakfast!”

Kirrily Waldhorn at Beer Style;

“Convention is boring…. normal is uninspiring. The Bridge Road Brewer’s Chevalier Saison takes you down the path less trodden, where those with curious minds delve and are rewarded for their inquisitiveness. A farmhouse seasonal ale, the style originating in the fields of Belgium and brewed to perfection in Beechworth, this is an impeccable saison rich in funky, tarty fruitiness and barnyard rusticity, which comfortably sits outside the square and shifts the paradigm.”

Peter Lalor in The Australian notes the beers’ ‘working class roots’;

“No doubt it was hard work in the Belgian mud, but the workers of the day must have had good union representation — a typical employee was entitled to five litres of beer a day. It wasn’t unusual to find beer as part of a worker’s arrangement in the good old days and around Dickens’s time your average clerk had an allowance. Beer was a source of nutrition and a safe form of rehydration when water wasn’t the cleanest.”

One need not look far into The Critics’ Choice top 100 to find the Chevalier Saison. A perennial top 10 place-getter it seems to be one of the few regularly released Australian beers that never fall from favour.

In 2011 (#9) Matt Kirkegaard gave us all good reason to reward a ‘hard-earned thirst’;

“Bordering on tart but undeniably refreshing. Perfect for when you’ve finished the harvest, this is the thinking man’s lawnmower beer.”

It climbed to #5 the following year and Matt followed up with this;

“A beer I invariably serve to wine drinkers who “don’t like beer”. Complex and full of spicy characters and interest this beer still manages to remain drinkable.”

In 2013 it took the number 6 spot and again Matt got to think of something new to say;

“If there was a beer that really deserves a wider audience in Australia, this is it. Critically acclaimed but hard to find, restaurants and foodies should jump on it.”

Last year Matt allowed other children to play and Jackson Davey said;

“While the mouthfeel evaporates and elegantly retreats, the flavour of the Chevalier pushes forward with tart citrus, honey spice and that saison sour funk.”

Bridge Road Brewers

The Critics’ Choice

The Crafty Pint

Beer Style

The Australian



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