At some point along the line, I managed to convince myself that I don’t like a certain style of Belgian beer. There’s something in the yeasty tang of a Hoegaarden or Leffe which immediately reminds me of a particularly nasty cough medicine I had as a child, and I’ve found it difficult to get past that initial reaction. However, a couple of years ago, I had the honour of being @bladkin’s Best Man. I decided the theme of the Stag Do should be “Beer”, and that is how we ended up on a brewery tour in one of the last remaining original breweries in Brussels.
I learnt a few things on that tour, and in the excellent bar they subsequently directed us towards. I learnt that some traditional Belgian beers (Lambic) are brewed using a process of Spontaneous Fermentation, where they rely on naturally-occurring yeasts to, um, occur naturally rather than adding yeast to kick-start the fermentation process. I learnt that it is the fault of the Americans and Coca Cola that no-one likes proper beer any more. I learnt that the beers I was conflating as being all of a type were distinct and different, and that if I could get past my initial antiproustian response, there were tasty moreish treats awaiting me.
Saison Dupont is one fizzy beer. The head in the picture above is after really careful pouring and letting it settle down a bit. I cleared a bit of head off to get my nose in for a sniff and - ugh, there it is; the cough medicine smell that put me off a whole country’s beer output for a good many years. The first sip was equally unpleasant as I tried to put that association out of my head, and then I started to taste the beer, rather than what my brain told me the beer should taste like.
There’s a lovely sweet/sour interplay in this beer, and something almost doughy about it. There’s a hint of vanilla, and some kind of fruity spice (cloves maybe?), but the lasting impression I was left with was those foamy banana sweets, then the refreshing tang of a good, sharp homemade lemonade.
I think I’ll always find these beers something of an acquired taste, and this is no exception. By the time I was halfway down it I was really enjoying it. Shame about the wasted first half, really.