The following is a review from Travis Curran (@THSeamonsters), a writer, actor and semi-pro beer drinker in Portland, ME. Travis is one of the four titular “Tasty Dudes” of Tasty Dude Films, and the author of Travipedia.
Smuttynose Big Beer Series Farmhouse Ale – ABV 7.0%
My, my. What a find!
I do my homework before I try any new substance, and my research triangulated the “Saison” style of ale to the French-speaking border of Belgium. This makes total sense to me.
It pours nice and tame. A fine honey to amber color, or excuse me, colour, with the tiniest of off-white head. Something I appreciate in a beer, showing a fine constitution in the ale and less giving way to the foamy wash.
Just with the suggestion in the title, upon sipping the Farmhouse Ale I was instantly brought back to an easier time. Between twirling my fine country mustache and swinging a mighty scythe amidst rolling fields of wheats and barleys in the good spirit of the late Harvest, I will pause to wipe the sweat from my brow and steal a swig from my hip-flask. The body is light and refreshing to the dry mouth, and the taste lowers my eye-lids half way and exhale underneath the sun. After a full day’s Labour in the fields, the Men return home with the setting of the sun, and this is what they kick back, with a full cobbler’s pipe, as they recline and set their weary feet upon a stool.
It does taste marvelous. Some definite fruits going on, but nothing totally in your face WHAM Blueberry! Or WHAM Strawberry. This is still beer, people. And Smuttynose is letting you know that. Probably what I appreciate the most about this beverage is the higher ABV than your traditional Saison, normally ranging below 5% to even 3% for hydration purposes. The stronger 7% gives a fuller body to it, and makes me feel much better about how my day at work went. It’s an addictive mouthfeel, crispy with the carbonation, but so thick with taste you go back almost instantly upon swallowing. Breathing through your nose is required, and helps enrich the aromas. I’ve read a few reviews where people mentioned a “sourness” to the tongue, but those people don’t know what the hell they are talking about.
Smuttynose Brewing gets it namesake from Smuttynose Island of the Isles of Shoals, off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Now, Smuttynose Island itself is technically in Maine, as am I, so I feel a strong connection to it. But my father currently resides in Portsmouth, and many a time in my years we have sailed out towards the Isles of Shoals, so I feel this connection even stronger, rooted perhaps within my blood, which is as cold and salty as the sea. For a company founded in the rocky coast of the Atlantic, this fine summer ale stands out in remarkable contrast, and denotes a bounty of praise to their craft.
I don’t know where in the land you’ve found this beer, Josh. But I’m going to find it again.