Amid the ever-moving carousel of eclectic new releases coming out of the New England Brewing Company, one of the reliable pleasures is seeing the return of the Dark Farmhouse each winter. This year is immediately different in that it’s the first to have come out in standard size cans rather than the big format bomber bottles. That may seem a downside for those who spend a year looking forward to getting stuck in, but it may also have the effect of welcoming in the curious crowd happy to try something different. And, while it is a slightly unusual beer, it’s not wildly so – the intrigue doesn’t hamper the approachability.
Pouring black as night with a generous head, the aroma offers up a light but sharp citrus hop character while the Belgian yeast gives it some peppery spice. On the palate is where much of the action is by way of flavours of leather, subtle smoke and cocoa, with a hint of liquorice and a good helping of roast malt character. This is a beer that feels like you ought to savour it but ends up going down a little too easily. A case, perhaps, for big cans next year.
- Dark Saison