When summertime rolls around, there’s never a shortage of fruity pales, kettle sours and mid-strength lagers on offer. But New England Brewing Co aren’t afraid to play in different waters, seeing the warmth each year as an opportunity to release a Belgian style summer saison. They play the traditional game of letting it ferment in open top tanks, and that process of unrestrained fermentation has the flora and flavours gathering and settling and eventually being complemented with a blend of old and new world hops (this version contains Hallertau Mittlefruh, Mandarina Bavaria and Amarillo). The result is a drop that’s as refreshing as any tropical XPA or mango Berliner Weisse out there.
This latest iteration of their Farmhouse Ale reminds me of when honeysuckles have crested the peak of their bloom and begun to wilt, spreading their nectar everywhere; when the farmer’s market is selling off bulk boxes of peaches for cheap because they’re overripe and plentiful; when you pull open a packet of sherbet and it explodes in a puff, filling the air and your nostrils with that sharp and sweet citrus zing…
But that’s all when you’ve just lifted the glass to your nose. Because once the liquid passes your lips, then it’s a different experience: it's biting into a bale of straw, feeling the ever-expanding foam of a mouthful of sherbet, wrestling the dry bitterness like a sheep that doesn’t want to be shorn.
It tastes like all kinds of summer.
- 30 IBU