’Tis the saison

I’ve been sipping my way through some saison beers lately, and we have one right here in Sacramento: Odonata Saison.

It’s been out since June in 1-pint bottles with a tractor on the label. Peter Hoey and Richard Sellers started Odonata last year and named their company for the group of insects that encompasses dragonflies and damselflies.

“Saison is named after seasonal farmworkers in northern France and Belgium,” Hoey explains. “They grew grains from spring through fall, then became brewers. Pre-World War II water was often unsafe, but no pathogens could live in beer, so it was a source of calories and hydration.

“They typically drank 6 to 7 liters a day, but at only 3 or 3.5 percent alcohol.”

Odonata is a 6.5 percent, but is versatile with food and light in the way of a hefeweizen. The saison will be available year-round, and a strong, dark ale called Water Witch (a European term for dragonflies) will be released in January. Look for Odonata at Corti Brothers, Nugget Markets, and Mulvaney’s Building and Loan, and visit www.odonatabeer.com for more locations and news.