'Tis the Saison 

Originating in Europe, farmhouse ales (aka saisons) were brewed in the winter to be consumed by seasonal farm workers from first planting to harvest. As the population shifted from agrarian to urban, farmhouse ales lost favor, and the style was almost forgotten. Modern craft brewers have resurrected it and while styles vary, they still harken back to a simpler time.

Grand Teton Farmhouse Ale, $7.49-$8.99

In the glass, this ale is a bright amber with a pillowy lingering head. Sour fruit aromas and a bit of funk dominate, along with spice and lemon zest. There's a nice tang on the palate, which is filled with bright citrus fruit and creamy malt. It finishes dry and despite the 11.8 percent alcohol, there's no discernible heat. This is a delicious effort from the eastern Idaho brewery.

Saison Dupont Vieille Belgian Farmhouse Ale, $5.99-$6.99

Dupont is something of a benchmark for the style and a particular favorite of mine. A persistent three-finger head tops this hazy straw ale, and it opens with tart aromas of apple, quince and pear backed by herb, spice and white pepper. Beautifully balanced, sweet fruit plays against mildly sour citrus with a hint of clove coloring the finish. It's just too easy to drink.

St. Feuillien Saison Belgian Farmhouse Ale, $2.99-$3.49

A light, cloudy, golden pour is topped by a porous head that leaves little lacing. There's a hint of cinnamon and clove on the nose, along with tangerine and a touch of banana. Those fruits come through on the palate, along with a bit of hop bitterness, toasted nuts and smoky malt. It finishes with crisp sour citrus. The St. Feuillien is a good value.

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