VALLEY BREWS reviews Farnham Ale & Lager Saison
For a summer that didn’t seem to really want to be summer, it sure has doubts about going. Officially late October, and the giant oak in my yard acts like its leaves haven’t turned every year by now for the past always.
A balmy shoulder season like this one makes it hard to reach for the rich and malty ales that go so well with things like wood stoves, tailgate chili, and that smug feeling of having your winter tires on already.
Last weekend, highs in the 70s, I needed my beer to be crisp, dry, but plenty complex—because I am what I drink.
Farnham Ale & Lager Saison (Dry Hopped with Citra)
Let’s begin with a brief lesson on saison beers. “Saison” is French for season. And traditionally, saison beers were brewed in the winter and meant to be enjoyed during the summer—like giving a beer an identity crisis because it doesn’t know what “saison” it’s supposed to be. Could this be just what I was looking for?
The Farnham Saison happens to be the perfect shoulder season beer. I’d recommend not sipping from the can but pouring into a glass. Golden and clear as day, it caps itself with a nice head of foam. I got some citrus wafting off of it, which was the first thing to come through in the sip. Grapefruit. That’s the citra hops tarting up the joint. Then the sparks of pepper start flying, soon rolling out to a malty, weird (but good weird) cut-grass kind of thing, before tapering off to a dry finish. That grassy, loamy flavor, I’ve learned, is what makes a saison “rustic,” and is why the style is also known as a farmhouse ale.
The takeaway: Farnham Saison is an excellent summer beer for the summer that won’t end.
WHERE TO FIND:
Windsor Wine & Spirits, Windsor, VT, is where I found it, but I’ve seen Farnham all over the place.
Have you tried the Farnham Saison? Tell us in the comments what you think and where you found it.