02 June 2016
Bees love the spring. The warmth brings a carpet of Texas wildflowers from which the bees gather nectar. They return to the hive, and the nectar magically turns into honey.
We have taken this honey and turned it into beer. The pastoral origins of the honey seemed appropriate for a Farmhouse ale like a Saison. The tradition of brewing these beers in Northern France and Belgium is much more freeform, given to using whatever local ingredients might appeal to the brewer. This tradition contrasts sharply with the rigid rules by which German brewers have toiled.
At the very core, this beer modestly consists of three malts (Pilsner, Wheat and CaraPils) and three hops (Perle, Lemon Drop, and Motueka). The simplicity of the base malts created a canvas for us to accentuate the rich flavors produced by the French Saison yeast alongside the earthy and citrusy notes provided by the hops.
In the spirit of farmhouse brewing, where farmers/brewers were mostly limited to using ingredients on hand, we wanted to add something that would truly express a flavor unique to Texas. We got in touch with our friends at Burleson's Honey in Waxahachie and, after test brewing with several different types, settled on their pure Texas Wildflower Honey. To each batch, we added over 800 pounds of this honey, which evokes aromas of floral blooms and nectarines in the final beer.
Also in the spirit of farmhouse brewing, we experimented with nearly extreme fermentation temperatures. This left us with a finished beer that is bone dry and incredibly thirst quenching.
Icon Gold - Texas Honey Saison will begin replacing Icon Green next week. It can be found in six packs of 12 oz bottles as well as on tap around town. Wonderfully refreshing for the summer!
UPDATE 16 June 2016:
HOUSTON, June 16, 2016 – The bees involved in making honey for Saint Arnold Brewing Co.'s latest creation deserve frequent flyer miles. The oldest craft brewery in Texas (www.saintarnold.com) is rolling out Saint Arnold Icon Gold – Honey Saison made with Texas Wildflower Honey from Burleson's Honey in Waxahachie, Texas. Data from the National Honey Board indicates the bees flew a total of 44 million miles to provide the 800 pounds of honey in each batch of Saint Arnold Icon Gold – Honey Saison.
What's more, the bees tapped pure nectar from an estimated 1.6 billion Texas plants, including Texas Tallow, Mesquite, Cotton, Goldenrod and numerous wildflowers. The result of all this hard work is a refreshingly bright ale with honey aromas of floral blooms and nectarines. Saint Arnold Icon Gold – Honey Saison is being shipped this week and will begin appearing on draft and in six packs of 12 oz. bottles as supplies of Saint Arnold Icon Green – 7220 Pale run out.
"We learned that the United States produces more than 300 varietals of honey, and we wanted to feature a flavor profile that only Texas honey can offer," said Saint Arnold Brewer Colin Klingemann. "Using locally sourced ingredients is part of the tradition of brewing the Saison style, so connecting with our friends at Burleson's Honey was natural."
Established in 1907, Burleson's Honey remains a family business that has spanned five generations. With consumer tastes shifting toward natural ingredients, honey has never been sweeter.
"With the ever growing consumer movement to more natural ingredients in food and the avoidance of artificial sweeteners, this is the golden age for honey," said Tim Burleson, VP of Burleson's Inc. "We work with some of the finest Texas honey producers and beekeepers in the Lone Star State to craft Burleson's Texas Wildflower Honey, so being selected as a featured ingredient in a great craft beer like Saint Arnold Icon Gold – Honey Saison is a very special honor."
Saint Arnold Icon Gold – Honey Saison features the rich flavors of French Saison yeast, which are accentuated by a simple malt bill consisting of Pilsner, Wheat and CaraPils malts. The Perle, Lemon Drop and Motueka hops contribute earthy and citrusy notes, but not a lot of bitterness at 22 IBUs.
Beers in the Saint Arnold Icon series result from collaboration, friendly competition and brewhouse experimentation. They are typically retired after a three-month run. One former Icon beer earned a place in Saint Arnold's year-round lineup when it was re-released earlier this year as Saint Arnold 5 O'Clock Pils. More information on the Saint Arnold Icon Series is available at http://www.saintarnold.com/beers/icon.html.
For more information about Texas Wildflower Honey from Burleson's Honey, visit http://www.burlesons-honey.com/products/texas-wildflower-honey.
Saint Arnold Icon Gold – Texas Honey Saison:
- Alcohol Content: 6.4% ABV
- Bitterness: 22 IBUs