has two; new ones are opening in Muskoka and now Niagara has a few. Last November, Oast House joined Silversmith Brewing Company in the growing club of breweries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Farmhouse Saison is a notable selection from Oast House’s small portfolio of beers.">

First Draught: a saison from Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Oast House Brewers


Published:

This saison pairs well with just about any food (Image: David Ort)

New breweries seem to sprout up in groups. The once-dry Junction now has two; new ones are opening in Muskoka and now Niagara has a few. Last November, Oast House joined Silversmith Brewing Company in the growing club of breweries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Farmhouse Saison is a notable selection from Oast House’s small portfolio of beers.

The two beers in Oast House’s Farmhouse series (the second one, the Biere de Garde, will be released soon), are bottle-conditioned for at least two months. This treatment gives the saison a cloudy haze that lends a glow to the dark straw colour. The aromas and flavours twist together spicy notes like clove and cardamom with fruity notes of orange peel and banana. There is a good deal of European-style hops in the background that leads smoothly into the refreshing, dry finish.

Historically, the saison style (originating from the French-speaking southern half of Belgium) was made in the early spring and stored for summer consumption during the busiest time of year for farm workers.

That said, I think saison’s ability to pair with just about any food helps it break free from the seasonal typecasting more than other hot-weather beers like wits and weissbiers. The bottle-conditioning provides a lively carbonation that cuts through the grease from fried foods; the fruity, herbal and floral notes contrast with darker meat flavours; and the slight hop bitterness keeps spicy food in line. 

I look forward to sampling more of the brewery’s offerings, like the Barnraiser Country Ale and the Crop Duster Belgian IPA.

Appropriately for Niagara, Oast House partners Cian MacNeill and Mike Berlis are both accredited sommeliers with winery backgrounds. The brewmaster and third partner, Kevin Somerville, helped get Niagara College’s brewmaster program off the ground.

If you can’t make it out to Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Oast House saison is also available in Toronto at barVolo, The Rhino and Indie Ale House. Other beers from the catalogue are carried by Tequila Bookworm, Wvrst and Bar Hop.

MacNeill sees what he calls the “new Niagara” as encompassing more than just wine (or even beer), but also distilleries, restaurants, food trucks and markets that are about “diversity, creativity and ambition.”

Niagara Oast House Brewers Farmhouse Saison, $11 for a 750 mL bottle at the brewery

In addition to covering beer, new restaurants and food trucks for Post City, David Ort writes about food and drink for several Toronto publications including Spotlight Toronto and his own site, Food With Legs. For more of his thoughts on food, beer and life in general, follow him on Twitter.

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Do Oktoberfest with a showboat to share

Do Oktoberfest with a showboat to share

Although Toronto doesn’t have a history-drenched take on Hofbräuhaus, we do have Wvrst — King West’s answer to the question of where to head to celebrate Oktoberfest.
Posted 16 hours ago
First Look: The Food Dudes open Pantry in Doria's former Summerhill home

First Look: The Food Dudes open Pantry in Doria's former Summerhill home

Food Dudes partners Adam Minster, Adrian Niman, Brent McClenahan and Matt Blondin have completed their renovation of the former Doria space in Rosedale and reopened it as Pantry by the Food Dudes.
Posted 2 days ago
Toronto gets a seasonally rotating restaurant as Leaside’s Tinto becomes Val-d’Isère

Toronto gets a seasonally rotating restaurant as Leaside’s Tinto becomes Val-d’Isère

During the winter months, Tinto will transform into an alpine chalet called Val-d'Isère, which will serve up hearty après ski fare like roast pork hock, escargot and fondue. Even the patio will be winterized with a wooden roof and a fire pit—perfect for snuggling up next to with a blanket and some mulled wine.
Posted 4 days ago
Food Crawl: September is the new patio season on Little Italy’s main strip

Food Crawl: September is the new patio season on Little Italy’s main strip

With the opening of PG Clucks for fried chicken sandwiches, a niche beer bar called Birreria Volo and B’saha, a Moroccan restaurant, College is getting more attention than it has in a while. Here are six standbys to check out along with the newcomers.
Posted 4 days ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module