Brasserie St-Feuillien - Seven
Serving Temperature:45-50° F
Suggested Glassware:Tulip, Teku, Willi Becher
Note: this traditional bottle-conditioned farmhouse-style ale is refermented and carbonated in the bottle, so there’s likely a layer of yeast at the bottom of your bottle. We’d recommend pouring carefully to avoid rousing too much of it, but some folks love to swirl it up and dump it in, so… as you like it. It may gush slowly when the cap is removed, too, so be ready with your preferred vessel. In the glass, this saison presents an amber hue with a good deal of effervescence and a plentiful head of light beige foam. Bright but delicate notes come forth in the aroma, offering touches of orchard fruits and melon, some grassiness with hints of hay, and a bit of earthy spice, with a mildly toasty biscuit-like undercurrent. On the palate, expect a fairly robust and full-bodied brew with a somewhat rustic malt backbone forming a prominent central core boasting notes of moderate caramelization, very light bread crust, and some residual sweetness with a slightly honeyed impression. Shot through all of this are the hop- and yeast-driven notes delivering stone fruit impressions, grassy-herbal tones, and a spicy note that joins up with the moderate hop bitterness, a little booziness, and that bright carbonation to provide balance and lift to this very enjoyable saison. For pairing options, your choices are truly vast, as farmhouse ales are very versatile. Some of our favorite accompaniments are grilled salmon, Pad Thai, poutine, barbecued chicken, Moules Frites (mussels & fries), and brie with crackers. As Brooklyn Brewery’s brewmaster Garrett Oliver said in his iconic book The Brewmaster’s Table, “If I were forced to choose one style to drink with every meal for the rest of my life, saison would have to be it.” Santé!
In the year 655, an Irish monk named Foillan was killed by bandits while traveling through the dense forest near the town of Le Roeulx, Belgium, and over the subsequent years and centuries his followers and pilgrims would come to the place of his demise to build a chapel and ultimately an abbey named in his honor, albeit with a French language twist. The monastery was home to about thirty to forty monks who brewed traditional abbey-style beer until the French Revolution, which saw the widespread condemnation, oppression, and disbanding of religious establishments, including the abbey of Saint-Feuillien (pronounced like “foo-yen”).
The brewery that is today known as St-Feuillien began in 1873, founded by a lady named Stéphanie Friart. She considered her brewery an extension of the abbey’s lost brewing tradition, and the brewery won multiple awards for their beers at international exhibitions. In the early 20th century, the brewery passed from Stéphanie into the hands of her nephew, Benoît Friart, who would go on to run the brewery for decades. In 1920 he acquired a more modern brewing facility in the heart of the city and he moved much of the beer production there, although both facilities continued producing beer until 1939. He was also responsible for the introduction of the brewery’s famous and very well-regarded St-Feuillien Blonde. After WWII, the company was taken over by Benoît’s son, also named Benoît, and under his leadership a number of new beers were introduced. During the mid-1990’s, St-Feuillien refurbished their original 19th century brewing facilities, and this was followed by an expansion from 2006-2009.
Fast forward to today and the brewery is celebrating its 150 year anniversary, and is still in the hands of the Friart family: the brother and sister team of Benoît and Dominique Friart, the great-grand-nephew & niece of founder Stéphanie Friart. They are members of Belgian Family Brewers, an association which represents twenty-one family-owned breweries in Belgium which are devoted to keeping the country’s brewing traditions alive. Members include such other luminaries as Dupont, Duvel, Huyghe, and Sint Bernardus, just to name a few of the association’s many other well-known traditional Belgian producers. St-Feuillien currently produces a wide array of traditional Belgian ales including Blonde, Brune, Triple, Quadruple, Grisette, and Saison, along with some less traditionally Belgian beers like their dry-hopped Belgian Coast IPA and a 92-proof American oak-aged whiskey-like liquor made from beer which has been triple distilled. For more info, visit them at st-feuillien.com/en.
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