The farmhouse ale phenomenon in the United States is a trend that many brewers predicted way back when it wasn’t as cool to seek out one-of-a-kind beers brewed in remote farmhouses in obscure corners of Europe. Interest in these import beers has inspired American craft brewers and homebrewers to take their own stabs at these provincial styles, too.
Shaun E. Hill
Brewmaster at Hill Farmstead Brewery (Greensboro Bend, Vermont)
My choice of farmhouse ales is Saison d’Epeautre, a beautifully dry, highly digestible beer brewed by my favorite little farmhouse brewing family (of mother, father, son) at Brasserie de Blaugies in Blaugies, Belgium. It is perfectly carbonated and highly attenuated—with complex minerality and their distinct yeast character. This beer and the Carlier family are an inspiration.
Brewmaster at Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, New York)
I think I’d have to go with Saison Dupont from Belgium’s Brasserie Dupont. I love the beer’s combination of dryness, bright fruity notes, effervescent carbonation, and slightly hoppy character.
Brewer at Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, Pennsylvania)
I currently love a saison with some farmhouse funk. One in particular is Saison-Brett from Boulevard Brewing Company (Kansas City, Missouri), when I can get my hands on it. It drinks great fresh or can be cellared to bring out even more funk. It’s a great beer.
Brewer at Block 15 (Corvallis, Oregon)
I got to try the Elder Brett collaboration by Crooked Stave (Denver, Colorado) and Epic Brewing Company (Salt Lake City, Utah, and Denver, Colorado) at Saraveza’s farmhouse festival. That beer is prototypical of what I’m looking for when I’m drinking farmhouse ales: well-defined Brett characteristics and big body to back up those flavors, aromas, and esters.
Owner and brewer at Black Fox Brewing Company (Denver, Colorado)
Farmhouse ales are my favorite family of beers because they’re dry and spicy—but not necessarily from spices. It’s a really artistic family; within it you have sours, Brett beers, saisons, wits—beers that finish instead of linger. They make you want to take another drink. I can’t pick just one beer within this category, and if I did I’d go for a smartass answer, such as Belgium’s Brasserie Fantôme’s Fantôme Saison because it has a cool little ghost on the label.