Expect Blackberry Farm Brewery’s Classic Saison and other beers to start showing up in fine restaurants throughout the country. Photo: Jeff O’Heir
Fans of Blackberry Farm Brewery’s Classic Saison and other beers no longer have to travel south for a taste. During the next four to six weeks the brewery will begin shipping its small-batch beers to fine restaurants throughout the country.
The brewery will initially expand distribution to restaurants run by chefs who have developed a relationship with Blackberry Farm, based in Walland, Tenn., and are familiar with its highly regarded resort and restaurant.
“They’ll be best able to explain to their guests what they’re drinking,” said Blackberry Farm proprietor Sam Beall, as he showed off some of the brewery’s new equipment and sipped its latest saison. “They’re able to tell our story.”
An ability to fully describe the brew is an important part of Beall’s effort to increase the pairing of beer with different dishes in his own and other restaurants, something he said that is difficult to do with many beers on the market.
Blackberry Farm proprietor Sam Beall describes the brewery’s Classic Saison to visitors. Photo: Jeff O’Heir
“I personally find a lot of craft beers and micro brews to be very hoppy, high in alcohol, high gravity; there’s a lot, a lot, a lot,” Beall said, adding that beer and food pairings should be approached in the same way a steward chooses wine for a particular dish. “A sommelier is not looking for the biggest and boldest. They’re looking for balance, and that’s what we’re striving for.”
Blackberry currently ships its beers to several restaurants in Knoxville, Nashville, and Atlanta.
The Brewers Association and many brands, such as Goose Island and Blue Point, have also been pushing to increase beer/food pairings in restaurants and homes. The association’s Craftbeer.com offers a pairing chart, tips, beer recipes, and an interactive Beer Styles Guide to help drive that mission.
Beall chose to lead Blackberry’s expansion with the saison because it’s light, crisp, dry, relatively low in alcohol (6% AVB), and pairs well with most foods, especially seafood, shellfish, salads, and cheese. Blackberry will eventually ship other types of saisons and beers aimed at pairings.
Belgian farmers originally brewed saisons (French for “season,” saisons are also known as farmhouse ales) for hydration during the summer in areas where potable water was scarce. It’s a backstory, Beall said, that chefs and servers can use to educate diners about both the beer and Blackberry Farm.
“It reflects the seasons,” Beall said, also referring to the ingredients that make up Blackberry Farm’s cuisine. “It speaks to who we are.”
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