Time of the Saison at Quidi Vidi Brewery

The harvest is in full swing and it has provided us with Quidi Vidi Brewing Co.’s Open Saison series. Open Saison on Rhubarb was released a few weeks ago and served as a precursor to the Open Saison event on November 1. The popular crabapple recipe is back in a much bigger batch this time as well as new saisons made with blueberries and raspberries. The Racket chatted with Quidi Vidi’s head of sales and marketing about the new series of beers and the Open Saison event.

 Open Saison on Blueberry, available at the Quidi Vidi taproom.

Open Saison on Blueberry, available at the Quidi Vidi taproom.

A saison is a medium bodied ale that originated in Belgium that often has a fruity flavour and a cloudy appearance. These beers were usually brewed in farmhouses during winter, to be consumed in summer. According to Fong, saisons are the most diverse style of beer, but they are not as popular or widely known. “[Saisons] are amazing with fruit and berry additions so it’s the perfect style [for the Open Saison series],” said Fong. Saison also means season which ties in with using the different berries and fruit that are in season and ripe for consumption.

This Open Saison series came about after the success of Quidi Vidi Brewery’s very small batch of crabapple saison last year, as well as their first canned recipe, Three Seasons which was released this summer. “I think [Three Seasons] was many Newfoundlander’s introduction to the saison style,” said Fong. He said the public’s reception of this brew has been “great” and that the Open Saison series goal is to explore the saison style even further. 

Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. actually started this process by inviting the public to channel their inner foragers and bring in their crabapples and rhubarb in order to help the brewery create this new recipe. The call went out to the public because the brewery was lacking in crabapples. “It was a tough year with a frost in June so the apples had to come from all over the province,” said Fong. The call worked out, as about 12,000 pounds of crabapples came in. One bag of crabapples got you a ticket to the Open Saison event as well as a limited edition Open Saison growler.

If you attended the event on November 1, you were given a free flight of the new rhubarb, crabapple, blueberry, and raspberry saisons. In addition, those in attendance were treated to a flash mob of zombies performing a dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” compliments of Neighbourhood Dance Works.

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Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. hopes to make Open Saison a yearly event with a pig roast and beer pairing collaboration with Mallard Cottage. If you can’t attend this event, Open Saison on Rhubarb, which Fong told us is “selling like crazy” is available at the NLC, corner stores, and in growlers at Quidi Vidi Brewery.

The rhubarb saison is a limited batch and won’t be around for much longer, but the crabapple recipe will be released at the same places you can buy the rhubarb saison. For those interested in trying the blueberry and raspberry saisons, they will be available on tap at Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. and Mallard Cottage.