Even though it’s hard to admit, summer is on its way out. Within another few weeks, temperatures will dip, the air will get crisp, and we will soon find ourselves bundling up and running to the comfort of the closest hearty stout or porter. It’s with this idea that I thought, “What beer style do I love, is currently popular, and transcends seasonal boundaries?” The answer to this is (of many styles) the “farmhouse” style of beer.
The farmhouse beer style is often used interchangeably with the “saison” style, although the idea of a farmhouse beer refers specifically how these beers were brewed in farmhouses during the cold months, then stored during the summer and served to thirsty farm workers during the hot times of the year in Belgium. Thus “farmhouse” is more of an umbrella term, one that refers specifically to an unfiltered beer, usually Belgian inspired, mostly sessionable (read: low abv), featuring earthy malt tones that give the beer a “farm fresh” feeling.
Ok, so a farmhouse style is usually earthy, maybe a little “gritty”, unfiltered, and stars the more “wild” tastes of nature, but what does that mean to us, the drinkers? Well for one farmhouses are beers meant to be refreshing. Due to their history, this typically means refreshment during hot months. Despite this idea, I believe that the farmhouse is a great beer for largely any season due to the heavy earthiness and rich maltiness typical of the style. Maybe it won’t warm your bones as much as a hefty Scotch wee heavy or winter warmer, but the farmhouse can reliably refresh you and give you a taste of spring/summer while still retaining a dense enough body. Also, despite traditionally being a lower abv style, the farmhouse usually has enough interesting tasting notes floating around (due to way that farmers would make their beer out of whatever crops they had growing at the time) to be an appropriately interesting beer year round!