The 2014 edition marks the next incarnation of Brasserie Dupont‘s Saison Dupont Dry Hopping which is a dry hopped version of their classic Saison Dupont. The Dry Hopping 2013 was the first edition released in the United States, although they’ve been making it since 2010. Each year features a different hop that Brewmaster Olivier Dedeycker is excited about.
This allows Dedeycker to experiment with new hops without changing the character of their main beers. This also seems to be a theme with many Belgian beers. The number of new hop focused beer releases coming out seems to be on the rise. The interesting thing is that they are retaining their unique “Belgian” character without becoming a bland, indistinguishably multinational hop beer. This is also having the added benefit of reviving the local hop farms in Belgium. Belgium only accounts for a small percentage of the hops grown in Europe.
The Belgians are creating hoppier beers while incorporating the unique European character of their local varieties. It’s this ability to take new trends and seamlessly blend them into their Belgian brewing traditions that makes this “Old World” beer country truly innovative and vibrant.
This year’s beer features Belgian grown Challenger hops. Challenger is a hop developed at Wye College in the UK and was released to the public in 1972. It can trace some of its heritage to famous British North Brewer hop. The hops for this beer were grown in Belgium, which lends them a different character than British grown Challengers.
Appearance: Hazy gold, off white head, good retention.
Aroma: Honeysuckle, Floral, grassy, orange blossom, spicy, lavender notes.
Taste: Honey, graham crackers, spicy, touch of pepper on the finish.
Overall Impression: Just like the 2013 edition, this is a great, modern spin on a classic Belgian beer. Saison Dupont is the benchmark many measure saisons by. It’s fun to see them keep adding to that conversation. Specifically, the 2014 edition is bright and spicy with big floral notes. It’s elegantly perfumy and fresh. The carbonation is fluffy and refreshing and helps carry the aroma of the hops directly to you. With a medium long finish, this is a tasty treat. Pick it up while it’s around or you may have to wait until the 2015 edition.
You can read more Brasserie Dupont reviews on my page dedicated to their brewery.
Disclosure: I work for the company that distributes this beer in Oregon.