For seasonal drinkers, "beer season" begins in earnest on Memorial Day, which kick-starts several months of steady thirst-quenching. It's one of the many reasons Philly Beer Week was pushed back to early June. This year, though, along with the usual pilsners and trendy wheat beers, expect to see a wave of new brews inspired by a different tradition of summer beers: saison - the yeasty, tangy, farmhouse ales of Belgium. Typically brewed in winter at a relatively high alcohol (5 to 8 percent) to last the summer, this once-obscure style popularized by Dupont and other Euro brewers is finding major new interest now in the U.S. with breweries such as Ommegang, Southampton, and Jolly Pumpkin.

Locally, Victory's relatively new Helios is another intriguing example. It's not quite as cloudy or heavily spiced as some saisons, but a light hand with sour-boosting brettanomyces yeast still lends it a telltale tarty funk, with a lemony pepper finish that finishes dry - good for food and summer quenching.

- Craig LaBan
Helios, about $5 per 22-ounce bottle, is available at Food and Friends (20th and Spruce), Mad Greek's Pizza (35th and Lancaster), the Foodery (2nd and Poplar), and Wegmans in Collegeville.