Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Brasserie Dupont - Saison Dupont Review
Brewery: Brasserie Dupont (BEL)
After reviewing the fantastic (and incredibly unique) flagship saison from Fantome, I figured I should maybe return to some of the classics of the style. And it's hard to argue that Saison Dupont is a classic, though it's been years since I've had it. It falls into a weird trap of neglect: it's considered a classic, I almost never see it on tap — where I might order it on a whim — and yet it's otherwise ubiquitous in beer stores. Hell, I've seen Saison Dupont in a number of grocery stores. It's always just sitting there, waiting, and I usually pass it and think: "You know, I should try that one again soon..." But there always seems to be a rarer, untried beer calling my name at just that moment.
Saison Dupont certainly makes an entrance — one of those where the cork shot out of the bottle at super-sonic velocities, ricocheted off the ceiling, and disappeared somewhere on the other side of the room. Despite that, it wasn't actually a gusher, and poured with a beautiful, billowy head, which lingered for almost the entire time it spent in my glass. The nose is classic musty saison, full of hay and grass and meadows and sunshine, plus light citrus and a sprinkling of pepper. About as funky as you can get without introducing Brett. And while there's a noticeable bit of skunked character, saisons seem to make this 'flaw' work for them better than any other style could.
Taste-wise, Saison Dupont is everything the aroma implies — a real complex array of flavors, dry and spicy and musty on one hand, but showing much more restraint than many overly-phenolic American versions of the style. Rather than aggressively peppery or spiced-tasting, Dupont offers an earthy, minerally brew — again bringing back flashes of a breeze-swept meadow in spring, rather than some mad cook's spice cabinet. Given the range of musty, barnyard flavors (and yet, lack of Brett), I wonder if Belgian saison producers don't package their beer in green bottles intentionally, specifically so they will achieve a low level of skunking. The high carbonation makes this an easy-drinker, and, I think, even adds a slight impression of sweetness, or fullness. The finish is bitter and dry, which is perfect for a style meant to be light and refreshing.
While I've had other saisons that I prefer over this, it's hard to argue with a classic, especially one so well-executed as this. Saison Dupont could be an ideal beer to offer potential craft beer converts: similar to many of the styles casual beer drinkers are already partial too, and yet offering so much more complexity.
Availability: Comes in both 350 ml and 750 ml bottles. Year-round, can be found in most good beer stores.