Saisons are the classic summer beers of Belgium's French-speaking Wallonia region (like Saison Dupont, one of 'Men's Journal's' 25 Best Beers in the World). The name saison literally means season – a beer made in the winter for drinking during the summer harvest – but brewers now make this style year-round. These beers are full of bright summery citrus and spice flavors and are light and refreshing, as easy to drink as a pilsner. All these characteristics have the potential to clash – bringing out too much bitterness or overpowering the flavors – with many types of hops.
With this in mind, Brooklyn Brewery's brewmaster Garret Oliver chose to showcase the Sorachi Ace hop. This is an often overlooked Japanese hop originally created for Sapporo beers, the light, usually flavorless stuff you find in your run-of-the-mill sushi restaurant. Sapporo this is not: The bright lemon character of Sorachi Ace subtly shines in Brooklyn's saison. With just a touch of spice and a mellow dill-like flavor, this is a beer for hot days. We enjoyed it recently with a Greek salad and pork souvlaki, but it would do just as well with sushi or a wide variety of shellfish. [brooklynbrewery.com]