There’s just something about a saison (that’s French for “season,” if you’re fancy) that has folks in the Finger Lakes talking. Whether you’re a beer fan or you typically reach for wine or other spirits, it’s hard to turn down this lightly effervescent pale ale. Its bright nose and citrusy, often-spicy finish cut cleanly through any lingering preconception that beer must be heavy, robust and warming.
Although this brew was traditionally drunk mostly in summer months—by hardworking farmhands, if you believe the lore—we think it should be enjoyed year-round. Pair a glass with a particularly funky local cheese or sip it with spicy Asian food. If you’re feeling cheeky, tipple some into a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in a pint glass for your new brunch favorite: the beermosa. —Rochelle Bilow
Local saisons to try:
•Fairport Brewing’s Jordon Saison, available year-round (Fairport)
•Naked Dove Brewing’s Roll in the Hay Farmhouse Ale, summer seasonal (Canandaigua)
•Ithaca Beer’s Ground Break Saison, available February through April (Ithaca)
•Abandon Brewing’s Session Saison, available year-round (Penn Yan)