“I think there’s a good chunk of the bigger players in the craft beer world that are starting to look at this.”

The quote is from Jason Ebel of Two Brothers Brewing Company in Illinois and appears in this morning’s New York Times story, The Other Extreme: Low-Alcohol Beers,” written by Betsy Andrews.

Lots of locals are quoted on the topic, not the least of which is America’s Most Beloved Beer Writer (© Liquid Diet – the Blog, 2008 ), and also Tom Peters, Ron Barchet and Chris Leonard. There’s nothing in the story that you don’t already know or haven’t heard before, I suspect, and there is always the possibility that the ship has already sailed, as if often the case when what’s been happening in a cultural niche bubbles up into the mainstream, but it all makes so much sense that you have to hope that’s not the case.

In the story, Mr. Peters makes mention of Brasserie Dupont Avril, the new 3.5% abv Saison from brewery which is the benchmark for the style. I had a chance to try it last Saturday at the Union Jack Saison Event and it is a wonderfully drinkable beer, perhaps my second favorite of the afternoon. Glazen Toren Saison d’Erpe Mere was the runaway winner, but to be fair, I didn’t do the flight with the three Sly Fox Saisons: Saison Vos, Saison Brune and Grisette and I consider the first of those right up there with the best American interpretations. The other two locals in the 13-beer lineup were Victory V-Saison and Weyerbacher Muse. I’ve had the Muse a couple of times this summer but this was my first shot at the Victory version. I’ve enjoyed both in the past and nothing changed my mind Saturday.

On my way out the door, that nice Tom Steigelmann gave me a couple of bottles of New Holland Golden Cap Saison Ale. This did not make me unusual; the equally nice Dr. Joel, who moved from trying to promoted beer on the mean streets of Phoenixville into a job as a regional New Holland sales rep recently, made sure Tom got a case of Golden Cap and he was disbursing them to friends. “They were free so I can’t really sell them,” quoth Tom, displaying an admirable set of ethics.

I gave one bottle to Tom Foley for driving me to and from the event and drank the other last night while switching back and forth between the Democratic Convention (I am a political junkie) and the wild Phillies game (baseball junkie too), in which they–ho-hum, again!–lulled the ever-choking Mets into a false sense of security and then broke their hearts in 13 innings (long after the Inevitable Ruch, who I’d warned about this very possiiblity while we were sharing a brew at Victory yesterday afternoon, had left to catch a way-too-early train back to Downingtown). Golden Cap, since I know you’re wondering,  is a nice 7% saison, not gonna blow you away or anything, but crisp and clean and pleasant.

If all these beer comments seem terribly favorable, remember than Saison is my favorite beer style and that the Phillies won. I am in a most good mood this morning.

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