Saison means season in French. The short version is that farmers brewed beer for their crews with what was readily available at hand during the season to keep their crew hydrated. So a Saison or Farmhouse style beer was born. (Makes me want to find farmwork.)
When you think about it, cultures both nomadic and stationary have always brewed with what’s been close at hand. Before international travel and trade, people simply used what they could where they were.
Beer is so much broader than most realize. It’s most likely the second oldest fermented beverage (behind mead), it’s made the world over as it renders questionable water safe to drink (from boiling, not from the alcohol) and the alcohol for many people is a side aspect not the driving force.
Enter American brewers. Or shall I say modern American brewers. By modern I mean the last 25 to 30 years. When I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to speak at Left Hand Brewing’s co-ed events ala Ales 4 FemAles last fall, the topic we landed on was 10,000 Years Of Beer. Doing a bit of research for the talks was a terrific reminder of just how universal beer is for darn near everyone.
Fermenting foodstuffs, be they liquid or solid, is an intentional human pursuit though perhaps started incidentally. Fermenting was necessary to soften foods, extend their edible life, make some things digestible and changed flavors. Sauerkraut may be one of the most universal fermented foods around and I’d bet a beer or two that just about every culture uses fermentation in some way or other. Bread making, wine making, pickles, kimchi and myriad other foods. Some we can easily conjure up, others we’ve never heard of.
Sharing fermented goodies is a terrific way to experiment with friends, whether they’re already your friends or about to become new ones. Making fermented goodies requires attention to details – and again, having friends accompany you in the process makes it more fun.
Being in the beer universe professionally, there’s almost always beer, wine and spirits around our home. Flavor is where you find it. Go explore. “Tis always the season ~
Go Here: Find a class that features fermentation in some form: brewing beer, vegetables, pickles, wine….Extension offices are great places to call first. I learned a bit about it when I took this class at my local Extension. Bonus: I met some really neat people at the class.
Try This: Visit the glossary and index sections of your cookbook library, whether yours or the public variety. Doing a bit of research will yield fermentation ideas worth trying.
Would you like to have Ginger at your next event? If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com or Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com