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Monday, April 16th 2012

(Brewery Vivant)


Zaison is Brewery Vivant’s second limited release of 2012, which was followed by two more limited, brewery-only releases - Trebuchet and Tripel - just a few weeks later. Amazingly, more canned releases are on the Brewery Vivant agenda for 2012. These fellows are keeping us busy!


From the Brewery Vivant site:

"Zaison takes its inspiration from the famous Saison style of beer made in the southern region of Belgium. Traditionally this beer is made in the coolness of the winter months to be enjoyed in the spring and summer. Our special yeast strain gives this beer a little funkiness and is accented with tellicherry black peppercorns and orange peel. At 9% abv this is probably one of the strongest summer beers you will encounter. The alcohol contributes to the flavor so who are we to try to reduce it? This is the strength the beer wanted to be, so we left it that way."



Here we go...


Pour - beautiful hazy copper-orange pour with a tight, off white head constructed of thousands of tiny bubbles. As it warmed up the thin but sturdy lacing left drooping curtains around our glass that were almost Dali-esque in their patterns (and that ain’t the beer talking - yet). 

Aroma - Sour orange citrus and some faint peppery notes – both of which we expected – and a hint of toasted grains and light bread that might be the “funkiness.” We’re accustomed to more Belgian yeast spice in the aroma of our Saisons, and its absence reminds us we’re drinking our first Imperial Saison made with a special yeast strain.    

Taste - Our first sip of this full-bodied ale is full of bubbly fresh orange flavor followed by a substantial bump of pepper spice. Big orange flavor returns for the finish that is a bit more tart than at the start. As has been the case with several of the brews we’ve tried that are made with peppercorns, the citrus sweetness overtakes most of the spiciness as it warms.  Every bit of the 9% ABV is completely hidden in this ale, making it an especially dangerous drinker (the beer starts talking here).   

Overall - A very big and flavorful ale that hints at the Saison style but is so different that it belongs in its own category. The full, almost heavy body of this beer was a very pleasant surprise, as was the Imperial kick that performed a complete sneak attack on our spirit and raised it several notches before we knew what hit us (and that, friends, is the beer talking).     


Brewery Vivant “Abbott of Beer” Rick Muschiana pours our first Zaison
from a big can against a backdrop of the more portable version.  

Note - Special thanks go out to owner Jason Spaulding and his “Abbott of Beer” Rick Muschiana for inviting the CraftCans team to the Zaison release party. We enjoyed great beer, great food, and great company! Plus we got another good look at Rick's hair, which is legendary at the brewery and is the envy of the entire CraftCans team.   

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Brewery: Brewery Vivant
Grand Rapids, Michigan  
United States  
Container: 16 oz. can
Malts: ???
Hops: ???
ABV: 9.0%
IBUs: ???
Date: April 16th, 2012

Posted by Trent

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