I have become addicted to saisons and farmhouse ales, which are really just different names for the same style of beer. They're fizzy and fresh, tart and fruity, and low enough in alcohol that a pint won't put me under the table. Even better, they're fantastic with food. This one from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has become a favorite.
Beer Details: Bam Bière Farmhouse Ale from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Dexter, Michigan. (ABV 4.5%)
Appearance: Hazy lemon yellow with streams of bubbles racing to the top. It has this crazy meringue-like head of foam that makes you want to eat it with a spoon.
Aroma: Lots of yeasty sour fruit flavors, like over-ripe fruit on the cusp of going off. There's also a spiciness to it, like coriander and white pepper, with a soda pop minerality.
Taste: If that watermelon ale from a few weeks back was like a Jolly Rancher, this one is like Sour Patch Kids. Tart flavors of pineapple, green apple, and lemon rush across the tongue, edging into earthy hop bitterness toward the edges. There's a little of the hay-like barnyard funkiness that you get with Belgian lambics, but it's not overwhelming in this beer. The malts are kept very light. They add a baseline of biscuity sweetness to hold down those bright sour flavors.
This ale is super fizzy, fairly thin-bodied, and very dry. For all that flavor, the finish is clean as a whistle.
Food Pairings: Saisons were originally brewed to serve farm workers over their lunch break. The beer pairs really well with simple dishes and has just enough alcohol to help you relax. Try it with an herb-rubbed roast chicken and a side of barely-steamed summer vegetables.
Have you ever had this beer? What do you think of it?
(Image: Emma Christensen)