Start of construction work to extend the brewery’s production site, which continued until 2008.Launch of Saison from St-Feuillien in 2009.
Saison – a heritage beer
‘Bières de saison’ (‘seasonal beers’) form part of the large family of special Belgian beers that have now disappeared. They were essentially regional, or even local, beers which were popular and very recognisable.
In the 19th century, the production of ‘Saison’ was not linked to specific events like March beer or Christmas beer, but just to one particular season – the hottest one: summer. It was therefore a thirst-quenching beer. Both refreshing and fortifying, it enabled those working in the fields to forget their tiredness. We know that Saison was an aromatic, bitter beer. It was amber in colour, sometimes even dark, and was brewed to be drunk in the summer.
The ingredients selected for brewing Saison, its specific production method and its high alcohol content all made it what we call today a ‘special beer’. A top-fermented beer with about 80 days of maturation, it fitted into the natural fermentation cycle of ‘bières de garde’, in other words beers ‘for keeping’ until the summertime when they were traditionally drunk.
Saison is a beer that is fundamentally rooted in Wallonia, particularly Hainaut (in southwest Belgium). Out of the 90 districts officially listed as producers of Saison around the year 1900, 70% were in Hainaut.Around 1900, the Province of Hainaut was home to over 670 breweries, and the province was the second-largest producer of beer in Belgium. These breweries were located all over the province and only sold their beer locally. Saison remained a beer that was only produced by these small breweries, some of which were just tiny establishments.
The production of Saison began to decline after the First World War, before almost completely disappearing after 1970. Today, a number of breweries – Brasserie St-Feuillien among them – are trying to save it from being forgotten forever. (Source: Philippe Voluer)