Heavyweight Brewing of Ocean County New Jersey is currently brewing and releasing a series of new Saison Beers, otherwise known as farmhouse ales. Trying to uncover more about this series was a complex task - as deep and intricate as some of the big and outstanding Heavyweight brews themselves.
I was able to spend some time discussing the series with Mr. Tom Baker, the owner/brew master of Heavyweight. I gained his perspective of these brews called Saison. Tom likes the farmhouse beers because they allow stretching of the boundaries, of the content and styles. Farmhouse-style brews tend to defy classification due to the varied and differing yeasts which gives them unique character. These special ales take a long time to brew, as the yeast used is moody and has a propensity to work slowly. Cellaring the bottled beers allows for maturity and quite a bit of change leading to an all-together different brew.
It seems that this series has been “inevitable” for Tom and his wife. They both enjoy farmhouse brews, and Heavyweight has been known to push the limits of beer with its ABV as well as exotic and ancient recipes. Tom remarked, “Phil Markowski’s book lit a fire under me for sure.” He adds that ever since the Bičre d’Art, consideration of a Saison line was smoldering below the surface, waiting to be born.
Right now there are two of the Saison line available, the Golden and the Dark. The Golden, which is very drinkable, was brewed on January 13th 2005, bottled and distributed in March 2005. The Dark, was brewed February 17th 2005, and should be packaged for distribution by mid to late April 2005. The third will most likely be a hoppy beer brewed in May. The fourth which should be a spice/herb beer is targeted for an August brew.
I would like to stress that these are limited brews both in quantity and distribution. So if the opportunity presents itself, get them while they are hot. Tom always welcomes visits to the brewery, just call first to make sure they are there and available to meet with you.