Archive for the category “Farmhouse Ale”

Arctic Soiree – Grassroots Brewing and Anchorage Brewing Company


grassrootsanchorage_arctic_saison_bttl6% ABV, 12 degrees Plato
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($14.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This “ale fermented and aged in oak tanks with brettanomyces, lime juice and hibiscus” is another collaboration beer between Alaska-based Anchorage and Grassroots, a Vermont farmstead brewery.  Arctic Soiree pours a gorgeous, burnished color that is equal parts ruby red grapefruit flesh and ruddy apricot, with a mid-sized, bone white head.  It has a bright nose of barnyard must, brettanomyces, citrus juice, grapefruit, and oak tannins.  Sweet, candy-like citrus and white wine grapes push to the front on the first swallow, backed by tart and flowery notes courtesy of the lime juice and hibiscus.  Papaya, oak, aspirin tablets, cantaloupe, and other more rounded melon flavors emerge on later swallows.  This is a very refreshing and original beer, a worthy successor to last year’s Grassroots/Anchorage collaboration Arctic Saison, with none of the potentially offensive and discordant components over-asserting themselves.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts


toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Jack D’Or – Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project

jackdor_bttl6.4% ABV
Purchased at BevMo in Elk Grove ($7.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into wine glasses.

This saison from Cambridge, Mass.-based Pretty Things pours a cloudy pineapple yellow with a fairly slight white head.  The nose gives off hay, copious grains, lemon and grapefruit citrus, and hardly any Belgian-style funk.  Jack D’Or is more grounded on the tongue, with the expected Belgian yeast flavors offset by an immense bill of grains and spicy hops.  Bananas and cloves dominate the front end, with more grains backing them up, and a piney-spicy bitterness on the aftertaste.  It’s a decent drink, but also a real mouthful for a mid-ABV saison, and certainly too heavy and aggressive to be called refreshing.

toasts-3   3 Toasts


toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

2012 Spring Biere de Mars – Almanac Beer Company

7% ABV
Purchased at BevMo on Arden Way ($14.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This spring seasonal from Bay Area-based Almanac Beer Co. pours a bright, caramelized orange with a tight, white head, and an inviting nose of lemon zest, caramel, garden herbs, and a moderate amount of funk.  Lemon zest, fresh garden herbs, and caramel/bready notes fulfill the promise of the nose, with the very light body offsetting the full flavors, and a nice balance between the bitter and the sweet.  The addition of fennel complements the herbal tone of the beer, giving Biere de Mars depth without pushing it too far into novelty range.  Almanac’s Biere de Mars is light and drinkable, but also compelling and unusual and full of contradictions; it’s refreshing, but also a slow sipper, and probably too strong to pair with most foods. 

    4 Toasts

   4.5 Toasts

Mad Meg – Jester King Brewing

9.6% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($12.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

His Notes:

This “farmhouse provision ale” from Austin, Texas-based Jester King pours a murky tangerine with a billowy ivory head and an understated nose of banana, bubblegum, guava, and Belgian funk.  Its first swallow is a crisp mouthful, combining the snap of rustic spices with the fruity effervescence of champagne, along with enough dusky farmhouse bite to keep your interest on the long alcohol finish.  Mad Meg is an unusual and not entirely successful brew, with an atypically hefty ABV for a “traditional” saison, but it manages to be simultaneously aggressive and approachable.

  3.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

  3.5 Toasts

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