Saturday, August 15, 2009

46. Smuttynose Farmhouse Ale

From the Smuttynose Brewery in Portsmouth, NH, Farmhouse Ale is a member of Smuttynose’s rotating limited release Big Beer Series. You can even purchase a subscription to the entire Smuttynose Big Beer Series, although there is no mailing option. If we lived anywhere near Portsmouth, we’d be taking advantage of their offer: 108 bottles for $485 makes good economic sense, even if we’re not sure we could put all of them down. But I digress...

Smuttynose’s Farmhouse Ale has a bready and spicy sweet candy nose. With a hazy dried hay color and a thick, lacy creamy head, it certainly looks and smells like a saison. Starting crisp and then moving quickly into a sweet candy malt taste, Farmhouse Ale has a nice spice body in the middle, including hints of clove, citrus tartness, coriander, along with yeast ester flavors and some slight hop bitterness before finishing crisp and refreshing. There is a soft, thick mouthfeel that rolls around in your mouth, and a decent carbonation bite that helps frame the flavor profile. Elli was less excited about this beer than I was; I do like it, although I agree that the middle is a bit sweet compared to the front and end of the beer. As well, the sweetness on the front comes in more as it warms—it does get a bit gooey with increased warmth. Nonetheless, an interesting and complex beer, one worth a second try the next time a bottle comes our way.

From the Smuttynose website: “Broadly speaking, a farmhouse ale - or saison - is an esoteric style native to the French/Belgian border region. Characterized by a golden to light amber color, light to medium body, and noticeable fruity/spicy esters, this beer, known also as a ‘country ale’ was traditionally brewed in primitive conditions in farmhouse breweries for consumption throughout the warm weather by seasonal farm workers. Our Farmhouse Ale is an homage to traditional European beers brewed for quenching the thirst of farm workers, or ‘Saisonaires.’ A unique Belgian Saison yeast is used to impart a mixture of spicy, fruity, & earthy notes along with lip-smacking palatability.”

Also available through the Smuttynose website is “Smuttynose Brewing Notes,” a blog run by Smuttynose’s Executive Brewer, David Yarrington. While there are a limited number of posts (three this year, for example), it is pretty interesting stuff. Finally, there is a section called “Brown Dog Pinups.” You want your dog to achieve internet beer fame, here’s the initial stepping stone for future success. Something tells me the photo of Buddy with a Harpoon wouldn't win us any favors at Smuttynose.

ABV: 8.8%


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