Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A wee celebration

There was a wee bit of good news in the beer world recently, when DB announced they were relinquishing their 'Saison' trademark. The press release read:

DB Breweries is in the process of cancelling the registration of its Saison trademark with the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ). The company has held the trademark since April 2002.

DB Breweries’ general manager marketing Clare Morgan says the decision to cancel the trademark was a logical one given the company hasn’t produced Saison for a considerable time.

“We haven’t brewed Monteith's Saison for six years and we have no intention of re-launching it to the market as it no longer fits our current Monteith’s portfolio. The brand was very well received when it was first launched but we ceased production in 2003.”

Saison is not a very popular beer in this part of the world, but since SOBA began to fight DB over their trademark of beer style 'Radler', Saison too has grown a bit of a following. SOBA members and beer lovers have began an informal 'Stuff You DB'campaign, by boycotting DB products and drinking Saisons and Radlers from other breweries.

Wikipedia says saisons were traditionally refreshing, low-alcohol pale ales brewed seasonally in farmhouses in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium, to refresh farm workers during harvest season. These days, saisons are brewed all over the world with an average range of 5 to 8% abv and are generally refreshing, light summer ales.

Golden Bay's Mussell Inn has got in on he act with the release of their White Tiger Saison 5.7%ABV.
It pours a golden, honey colour with an off-white head and gives off a strong citrus and malt aromas. It tastes of citrus fruits, particularly lemon, with a light, refreshing biterness and there's a smooth roast malt flavour in each mouthful. Perfect for spring with our changeable weather.

Nøgne Ø Saison 6.5%
This version of the Belgian beer is brewed in Norway and is now available in New Zealand - well, one bar in Welington. Hashigo Zake stocks a good chunk of Nøgne Ø beers, and Saison is one o their stand-outs.

It pours a hazy gold with a massive white head, and gives off a smooth caramel aroma. It has very strong flavours, with caramel, orange, lemon, malt and a touch of hop with every taste. The hop is fresh and citric, which balances the malt-driven caramel well and doesn't over-power the other flavours. It is a perfectly balanced brew with fresh and refreshing flavours. Delicious.

Now that DB have taken one step in the right direction by relinquishing their saison trademark, we will hopefully see more of the refreshing style in breweries and stores as we move into summer. And, with any luck, it might not be too long until we beer lovers can have radler back to.

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