Saisons originated with the rustic farmhouse ales of Wallonia, a mostly French-speaking region of Belgium. Bière de saison was brewed during the saison froide (cold season) for consumption during the warmer months. Today saisons are made and enjoyed year-round. As brewers, we were drawn to this beer style’s enigmatic history, the freedom it offers, and the creativity it demands.
Anchor Saison™ Spring Ale is a traditional Belgian-style saison with a California twist. The distinctiveness of roasted Belgian wheat malt is enhanced by the peppery, clove-like flavors of a locally cultured saison-style yeast. And, for this release, we chose three California ingredients—lemongrass, lemon peel, and ginger—whose synergy adds a tangy crispness and herbal spiciness to this sharply refreshing, uniquely Californian saison.
The completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 and the Southern Pacific’s “Sunset Route” in 1883, coupled with the advent of refrigerated railcars, made it possible for California brewers and farmers to ship their products out of state. Local artists and lithographers were engaged to create imaginative labels for bottles of beer and crates of fruit. Many of the latter featured colorful vignettes of California scenery framed by mouthwatering images of fresh citrus.
Inspired by those early fruit-crate labels and the ingredients in this release of Anchor Saison™ Spring Ale, our label features an original hand-colored 1873 lithograph of the Golden Gate as seen from Telegraph Hill. Our saison’s California ingredients—hand-drawn by our label artist Jim Stitt—adorn it, creating a uniquely Anchor label for a uniquely Anchor brew.