There are a lot of great collaboration beers in the history of the craft beer movement. Perhaps it’s several IPA factories joining forces to create the latest must-get hoppy beer, like Fort George’s annual 3-Way IPA. Or maybe it’s a famous truce, like Avery and Russian River’s Collaboration, Not Litigation Ale. But rarely do you ever see a collaboration that looks more perfect on paper than Allagash meeting up with Brasserie Dupont to make—what else?—a saison.
If you know saison, the merits of the idea speak for themselves. Dupont are the makers of the style-defining Saison Dupont, a go-to example that any self-respecting beer geek would offer as a template for Franco-Belgian style saison. And Allagash has produced numerous wonderful twists on saison over the years, including their year-round version of the style. With these two breweries collaborating together, there was little chance of the outcome being anything but great.
The fruit of their labors is Brewers’ Bridge, a fairly standard, 6.1% ABV saison you can find on store shelves now. For the size of the collaboration, it honestly seemed to make surprisingly few waves on release, but perhaps that’s the function of a craft beer geek landscape that can’t currently seem to disengage itself from cloying dessert beers, whether they’re stouts, IPAs or sours. Regardless, when I ran across this particular release in the package store and remembered the collaboration behind it, I knew it was something worthy of a formal review.
On the nose, this is an utterly classical saison from the first whiff. Multi-grain notes of rye bread and sweet malt are met by hay, banana fruitiness and white pepper earthiness. It strikes me as very Continental and particularly Dupont-like—if you handed me a glass of this and said it was Saison Dupont, I probably wouldn’t have argued the point.
On the palate, this is quite effervescent, with prickly carbonation that leads first into fruity flavors of pear and banana. Clovey spice backs up toasty malt, and everything runs along in harmony. Truth be told, this isn’t an extremely assertive beer or a saison that is focused on big flavors. It’s delicately spicy, slightly fruity and solidly malty. The breweries refer to American hops, but I don’t detect much of their presence outside of some fresh grassiness. All in all, this strikes me as very much a solid, rustic, classical saison—and the world can always use more of those! I think of it as being a bit more in the Dupont flavor wheelhouse than the Allagash one, perhaps because I’ve come to associate Allagash more with wild yeast over the years.
So, if you love classic saison—and really, your taste should be considered suspect as a beer geek if you don’t—then you owe it to yourself to try a collaboration between two of the best in the business.
Breweries: Allagash Brewing Co. and Brasserie Dupont
Style: Saison/Farmhouse ale
Availability: 4-packs of 12 oz bottles
Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident beer guru. You can follow him on Twitter for more drink writing.