Bermondsey is hardly saison country, and by that I mean the province of Hainault in Wallonia: a landscape of flat fields upon which cattle graze and stalks of ripening corn and sheaves of wheat wave in the gentle breeze. Farmhouses dot this sylvan landscape, places where farm-workers once gathered in the hay, working up a thirst, which a bottle or two of home-brewed saison would quench. I’m in Bermondsey, Druid’s Road. Railway arches, which upon one there’s a plaque to the victims of a direct hit from a Blitz bomb, the rumble and tumble of noise that marks the passage of a train, the waspish buzz of traffic from the Tower Bridge Road; patches of builders in high-vis vests banging and clanging as the city’s landscape continues on its never-ending cycle of change. Saison country? But within the brick-built cave of an arch I try one of the best saisons I have ever had. At Kernel brewery I am, a brief visit, my curiosity piqued by what drives one of the best breweries about and also in connection with a feature I’m writing. Inside and under the arch, a jumble of equipment: the brewing kit here, the open fermenters there, bottles, kegs, brewing schedules hanging on the wall, the whole paraphernalia of making beer. Brewery founder Evin O’Riordin is not about so Nate shows me around, a brief tour and then ‘would you like to try a couple of beers?’. Yes please. First up the Export Stout, kegged, a magnificent wraparound taste sensation of espresso, roast coffee beans, milk chocolate, juicy fruit and dry cereal graininess. Then would I like to try the saison? Yes please. I love saison, I love the fact that it’s a moveable feast, a beer that changes with breweries; it has its sense of place but this, like its flavour and character, is also a movable feast. I have enjoyed saisons from Pennsylvania, New York State, Vermont, Flanders, the south coast and South Wales (as well as Wallonia) and now I hope I will enjoy one from south London. Kernel Saison is 7.2% and dark coral in colour, orange with gold highlights. Its nose is austere and flinty with tightly laced bitter lemon notes. The palate is dry and tart, sprinkled with orange, peach and tangerine notes with an undertone of pepperiness that discourages the fruitiness from toppling over into a blowsy old caricature. Amarillo is the hop at the start with Mount Hood at the finish. No sugar or spices either, though that’s not something that’s discounted for further expressions says Nate. It’s a beautiful beer and I can close my eyes and be in saison country for a moment before the rhythms of the city reel me back in. Bermondsey: saison country.