Seattle, WA - In the city the stereotype often has been you can't have the Emerald City without a bit of rain and overcast cloud cover. But, from time to time a little bit of sun creeps in, especially during the warmer months, allowing us the chance to be like the rest of the country. It's during these rare times that like lemmings, we seek out something gold, pale, or any other colored beverage indicative of the sun.
For us we elected something with influences across the water in a small country called Belgium, the Farmhouse Ale. Located south of Safeco Field and Seahawks Stadium (currently Qwest Field), Epic Ales has been brewing interesting artisan ales since January of this year (2010). Released a few weeks ago, Simply Summer Farmhouse Ale is Cody Lee Harris' next in the Simply Series (the former being the Simple Ale). Fermented with Sake yeast, instead of the traditional Belgian yeast, this beer sounded interesting, and at 4.90% refreshing. But as always we couldn't resist taking a trip down memory lane for a review of what makes a Farmhouse (style) Ale so special.
Originally produced in the French-speaking region of Wallonia (Belgium), the Belgian Farmhouse Saison was brewed at the end of harvest season as a pick-me-up during the colder months that followed. And like anything European, the beer had to hold a good balance between being resistant to pre-mature aging, while being thirst quenching during the following summer.
Today the beer is brewed almost annually, in small breweries, often designed in the same style as those farmhouse's of yesteryear. Overall, this beer has a medium to strong fruity or spicy quality that appears yellow to orange in color. Almost as if it was the Belgian equivalent of a India Pale Ale with a dry edge.
Taking this into consideration we approached Epic Ales' Simply Summer with the same expectations, slightly modified given the non-traditional yeast.
Simply Summer Farmhouse is an ale that pours pale and golden with almost opaque translucence to it. Pouring initially a strong tapioca-like foamy head, the beers froth soon disappears little in regards to lacing.
Taking the glass to our nose, one cannot help pick up some lemon zest, slight pepper, minor wheat, and clove as well as an underlying floral character.
Sipping we are greeted first by the same pepper spiciness, minor straw earthiness, before the final bit reaches the back of the tongue finishing dry. Overall the beer comes off with a medium weight and some minor stickiness.
"Continuing the theme of the Simple Ale, Simply Summer uses only four ingredients. Fermented warm, this ale is super dry with spicy yeast notes. Carbonated to levels found commonly in lagers and wiezens, this refreshing ale is prefect for sunshine, goat cheese and freshly grilled treats. Each barrel has one pound of Cascade hops boiled for 90 minutes to give it the classic pine-like snappiness famous in the Northwest."
You Should Try, at less than 5% Alcohol by Volume this beer would serve the hard working and relaxing addict well. Now all the sudden we have a craving for some goat cheese, a bit of turkey (with a nice bronze skin) and some green grapes.
Thoughts By Your Colleagues
About the photos’ author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has not provided me a free sample was used for research, prior to writing this review. The following sample was purchased at Malt & Vine on 16851 Redmond Way in Redmond, WA 98052.