The Harpoon brewery is a staple of the Boston beer scene. Established in 1986 on the Boston waterfront they have become one of the biggest and most successful craft breweries in the country. It is hard to find a bar in Boston that doesn’t serve their popular English style IPA, unfiltered UFO beers, as well as their series of successful seasonal offerings. While these beers are pillars of the Boston craft beer scene, Harpoon stretches their creative muscles with the 100 Barrel series, a set of one-off brews that range from wet hopped IPA’s to beers brewed with Vermont maple syrup or Island Creek oysters.
Saison’s are great for these type of experimental one-off brews. Traditionally brewed in Belgian farmhouses, saisons have a wide variety of flavor profiles due to the distinct ester flavors imparted by the Belgian yeast strains, along with the variety of grains and hops used in the brewing process. In Saison Various Harpoon had four different brewers make their interpretation of a saison and then blended the four beers, a technique that is common with wine but hasn’t been used as much with beer. It is available for a limited time on draft and in 22 oz. bottles.
Harpoon Saison Various pours a golden yellow with a small but sustained white head (I drank it on draft). The estery flavors of the Belgian yeast are immediately evident on the nose, along with some grassy hops. The flavor is distinctly Belgian, fruity esters, a little spiciness, hints of pepper and green apple. All of the flavors are subtle and balanced, the beer is crisp, clean and easy to drink, perfect for the last warm days of the fall in New England. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.