BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Style category: Belgian Saison
To defy the Dutch blockade of the waterways here after Belgian independence, the locals of Damme dug the Leopold Canal, known locally as ‘the Blinker’.
While ‘Saison’ has been interpreted in different ways in various countries, many Belgians argue that it’s not a style at all.
It emerged from the need for Walloon farms to both put their ‘saisonniere’ farm hands to work in the winter months and to keep those same workers adequately refreshed while toiling the fields in the summer.
Blinker is made with modern ingredients and techniques, but we defer to the intention of those early producers.
It’s made from grain which would have been available on those farms (barley and wheat) and from earthy and spicy European hop varieties (Challenger and Goldings) from the hop fields of Poperinge.
We achieve dryness by selecting a highly attenuating yeast strain which we believe ferments as deep as their ambient farmhouse yeasts might have done.
What we’re left with is an incredibly dry and thirst-quenching beer with a pronounced fruitiness.
The strength of the Blinker lies in its simplicity. It’s brewed to a sessionable alcohol level. There are no spice or herb additions at all.
The lemon symbol adorning our label references not only the juicy citrus aromas and flavours delivered by our characterful yeast, but the colour of the sun and the taste of a season.
OUR BREWVIEW ON siphon brewing’s blinker saison
5.5% ABV. Golden color with a creamy, cotton ball density, white colored, 3-finger height head with large and small bubbles.
It took nearly 10 minutes for the head to collapse down to a 1/4 inch height – simply remarkable. The lacework the head left behind on the sides of the glass was super dense- (we did ensure the glass was “beer clean.”)
The aromas upon opening up the bottle were quite intense- Meyer Lemon, (lemon pith, dare we say even lime?) grapefruit, with a nice hop aroma balance- grassy, herbal. It wakes up the olfactory senses in a brilliant way.
The spicy phenols are quite prominent. The aromas carry over into the taste- one thing to notice is the great hop bitterness and balance of how it relates to the overall taste experience. Beautiful grainy dryness.
Light to just medium bodied, very refreshing, dry, crisp, herbal and peppery in the finish. The acidity of the beer just hits the tip of the tongue upon first sips, and then it fills the top sides and the soft palate with its dryness. The finish is meyer lemon, and herbs. Its refreshing character begs you for that next sip.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS
(Cheeses) Rich, Blue veined, Trappist or Washed Rind cheeses would go very well. Boterhammen / Tartines, Salade Liégeoise. A great charcuterie platter with light sausages would be excellent. A pairing of White Stilton made with lemon would be fantastic.
This beer begs to be paired with seafood. Moules-frites, the famous Siphon Paling in ‘t groen (Eel), Mahi Mahi, Dover Sole, Flounder, Chilean Sea Bass. Serve with hop shoots or White Asparagus with creamed butter. Throw some fresh hops on the plate- not only for the lupulin aromas, but also for the decorative factor.
First thing that comes to mind- classic cheesecake! Anything lemon based: Lemon bars, Lemon Chiffon cake, Layered Lemon pies, Lemony White Chocolate Cheesecake, Lemon Ricotta Cookies With Lemon Glaze.
Our hats off to Breandán, Franklin, Jan, and the entire Callewaert family!
Blinker saison stands shoulder to shoulder with the classic saisons of Belgium. We were very impressed to experience such a high quality beer from a brewery that is not even one year old. Many breweries starting out usually use the first year or so to further develop the flavor profile of their beers. Siphon has knocked it out of the park for their first at bat!
For the time being, the Siphon Brewing beers are available in Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland, and Sweden. For those of you outside these countries, it’s worth the trip to Damme. Not only are the surroundings beautiful, but admit it- you’d be coming to Belgium anyway for the beer. Make this brewery and the adjoining Siphon Restaurant one of your visit destinations. Highly recommended, seek this beer out for sure.
MANY THANKS GO OUT TO:
Stu Stuart of Belgian Beer Me! Beer tours of Belgium for responding to our humble request to send us this bottle of Siphon Brewing’s Blinker Saison!
If it weren’t for his kindness, Belgian Beer Journal would not have had this special opportunity to bring this BREWERY SPOTLIGHT segment and its BrewViews to you. Thank you, Stu!
ADDITIONAL LINKS- JUNE 2017 BREWERY SPOTLIGHT
BrewView author GORDON A. PONCE is the main driving force behind Belgian Beer Journal.com. Since 1983, Gordon recognized that beers from Belgium were special, set apart from the typical craft beer.
He views beers from Belgium (plus Belgian-style and Belgian Inspired beers from other countries) great examples of the brewer’s art. Gordon and his wife live in beautiful Northern California- a great place to enjoy Belgian beer! Ecclesiastes 8:15