Today’s beer is a classic example of old meets new at the crossroads of modern brewing.
Brasserie Dupont has a story stretching back to the mid 1800s when it was a farm brewery making saisons, or seasonal beers, which were crafted in the winter for consumption by workers in the hot summer months.*
The first mention of the Saison Dupont brand was in the 1920s and the brewery expanded steadily through the 1900s adding new brands to reflect the broader trends in beer tastes as it went. Moinette Blonde was added in the 1950s as an answer to the demand for pilsners after the war, and organic additions appeared through the 90s when the world was trying to get back to grassroots and healthier living.
Cuvée Dry Hopping first appeared in 2010, intended of course to populate the niche of ever-hoppier beers that was rapidly expanding at the time. It’s dry hopped with a single hop and has been made with a different variety every year since.
Dry hopping is the optimal way to maximise aroma in your beer. It basically involves the addition of hops after the boil - during fermentation or conditioning. Adding after the boil is key, as although the boil is great for dissolving the resin of the lupulin glands and drawing out the hop’s bitterness, it drives off the volatile essential oils from which we get the big aromatics.
This release is dry hopped with Styrian Wolf, the latest addition to the Styrian family which was developed by the Slovenian Institute for Hop Research. It’s actually a high alpha variety with good bittering potential, but is also extremely potent and oily and is thus prized for its headlining mango, lemon, and lemongrass aromas. Let’s get into it!
It pours a hazy orange with a bright white head. The aromas scream of summer ales with tropical notes combining with plenty of citrus that float over the suggestion of a farmhouse and a general funk. The palate is light and ethereal but with enough hop and alcohol bite at the back of the mouth to liven things up. There’s a scintillating fresh zesty quality to proceedings too, accentuated by the high carbonation and spicy hits which pop up here and there when you’re not looking. Lovely!
The gentle thirst quenching saison isn’t exactly known for its big bitterness, and so here we find that the brewers have used dry hopping to full effect, making a beer that will appeal to the hop heads whilst retaining its authenticity. If hops are your thing, but you don’t want to sacrifice drinkability and enjoy a beer that straddles styles… this is certainly one for you!
* Just in case my boss is reading - I fully approve of this concept. It gets very hot in my office in the summer and writing blogs is sweaty work, so a saison or two for the workers in the summer months wouldn’t go amiss.