Friday, November 4, 2011

490. Fremont Harvest Ale

Happy Birthday to me. And since today is my birthday, it means beer. Specifically, this beer, which is our first beer from Fremont Brewing Company, located in Seattle, WA. And, as their label informs us, “Because Beer Matters.” To which we would, of course, agree. And who wouldn’t? While I could go with the all-purpose bad guy, and proclaim Nazis, that’s too easy an answer today. So instead, let’s go with Lolli, because, well, he at least responds with indignation. Maybe not to this, but he’s got plenty of indignation to go around. And general indignation is better than outright apathy. Because Nazis certainly aren’t bringing their A-game.

Harvest Ale pours a hazy dull gold—there are hints of orange and copper, but mainly it is a dirty gold. The head is thin and white, while the nose has bright floral, perfume, and fruit notes, with the fruit the strongest of the three. There are delicate pear and apple aromas along with scent of orange marmalade—it is just short of jammy, but distinctly preserve-like with the candy sweetness to match. Finally, there are also toast and candy malt aromatics and just a touch of hop spiciness to round things out. Flavors start soft, bready, and spicy. The fruitiness of the nose comes out in the middle; along with the candy sweetness, there are floral and fruit hints that lead to a distinct orange mixed with a touch of grapefruit. As the beer warms, the grapefruit flavor takes on a pith character. The finish dries out and features a lingering mineral bitterness—bright, but bitter—that I associate with Magnum hops. There are also lingering orange and grapefruit pith flavors on the tongue as it warms, and the final sensation on the palate is apple bitterness. Harvest feature a lightly chewy but dry body with a bright, prickly carbonation on the tongue; there is a touch of alcohol warmth at the end as it warms, but nothing detracting. The dry saison body is an excellent vehicle for this beer—the yeast esters combined with the hop flavors create a complex set of subtle flavors. Harvest is a delicate, nuanced beer. This was a good call for the birthday beer—I could drink this all day long.

From the bottle: “We are a family-owned microbrewery founded in 2009 to brew small-batch artisan beers made with the best local ingredients we can find. Located in the historic Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, we know why the chicken crossed the road—but we’re not telling. Harvest Ale is our offering for this time between here and there. A fall beer graced with fruit and bread aromas and touched by wine notes reminiscent of apricots and apple. Harvest Ale finishes dry and crisp and is unfettered by spices. Fall into a Harvest Ale today...”

From the website: “Our Fall seasonal. A French farmhouse-style saison brewed with Northwest hops. Harvest Ale is our offering for this time between here and there, a Fall beer with fruit and bread aromas and white wine notes reminiscent of apricots and apple. Harvest Ale finishes dry and crisp. Fall into a Harvest Ale today, you won’t be disappointed. Unfettered by spices.”

ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 40
Malt: 2-row Pale & White Wheat
Hops: Magnum, Cascade, & Goldings


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