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These Craft-Brewed American Farmhouse Ales Bring The Funk To Summer ’21

If you visit craft breweries during the summer months, you’ll likely see at least one Saison option (though sometimes they’ll be referred to as “farmhouse ales”). The Belgian staple is a pale ale that’s traditionally brewed in the winter and spring for drinking in the summer season. That means this beer style is literally designed for this time of year.

The craft behind this beer is the use of unique yeast strains, often Brettanomyces, to add a little funk, while keeping things light. The beer is a classic ale that’s then refermented in the bottle to create a serious layer of effervescence, dryness, and lightness — hence, its summer crushability. The traditional beers from Belgium will have an airy nature that’s usually counterpointed by a farmhouse vibe (dry or green straw on the lighter end and conjuring wet goat on the hefty end), with orchard fruits, tart creams, and floral or dank hops driving the rest of the flavor profile.

One of our all-time favorite beers, Saison DuPont, is the ultimate example of the style. Most American brewers will use DuPont as their touchstone while adding fruity flavors to make their versions more enjoyable for the American palate. Today, we’re naming eight American craft-brewed Saisons that pay homage to the originals.

If you want to give these craft brews a shot, click on the prices to see if they’re available in your area.

Goose Island Sofie

Goose Island

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: $14 (six-pack)

The Beer:

There’s a reason this is one of the most popular Belgian-style farmhouse ales on the market. Brewed with Amarillo hops as well as 2-row and Pilsen malts, alongside malted wheat, it’s wine-barrel aged with tart, zesty orange peels. The result is an effervescent, crisp, refreshing beer that more resembles a fine Champagne than a classic beer.

Tasting Notes:

There are notes of fresh berries, orange peels, and a nice subtle kick of cracked black pepper. The palate is more of the same with hints of citrus zest, dried fruits, more pepper, and just a bit of acidity to make you remember this is a wine-barrel-aged beer.

Bottom Line:

For fans of white wine or super crisp beers, this is a perfect choice for a summer evening sipper. It’s tart, thirst-quenching, and unique in the best possible way.

Great Divide Collette

Great Divide

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: $11 (six-pack)

The Beer:

Great Divide brewed Collette to pay tribute to the classic Saisons of Belgium. It’s the type of beer that you’d imagine a farmer drinking 100 years ago. It’s brewed using simple ingredients that include rice, wheat, and barley before being fermented with four different yeast strains. The result is a tart, dry, and very fruity beer you won’t soon forget.

Tasting Notes:

A lot is going on with this beer’s nose. There’s a strong presence of sweet malts, funky wheat, bananas, and citrus zest. It’s all rounded out with a nice combination of spicy hops. Sipping this beer reveals flavors of lemon zest, caramel malts, tart berries, and a nice, pleasing bitter hop finish.

Bottom Line:

When it comes to farmhouse ales, this is a little sweeter than most and that’s not such a bad thing. It’s still the type of beer you’ll want to drink after a heavy meal, regardless of whether you work on a farm or not.

Two Roads Worker’s Comp

Two Roads

ABV: 4.8%

Average Price: $11 (six-pack)

The Beer:

This American take on the Belgian classic is brewed with oats, rye, barley, and wheat. Everything is brought together by a flavorful yeast strain. All of this combines to create a beer that’s brimming with spicy, fruity, and floral flavors.

Tasting Notes:

On the nose, you’re treated to the scents of citrus zest, cracked black pepper, and subtle cooking spices. The flavor is filled with fermented flavors like old banana and orange peels as well as caramel malts. This is all tempered by a crisp, slightly tart finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a sessionable (lower ABV), highly crushable beer well-suited for hot summer days.

Ommegang Hennepin

Ommegang

ABV: 7.7%

Average Price: $10 (750ml bottle)

The Beer:

Situated outside Cooperstown, New York, Ommegang has the appearance of an authentic Belgium brewery, and its beers follow suit. One of its best beers is Hennepin, the brewery’s Americanized take on the traditional Belgium farmhouse ale. It gets its unmistakable flavor from the addition of ginger, orange peel, grains of paradise, and coriander.

Tasting Notes:

This nose is extremely complicated. There are aromas of orange peels, coriander, crisp pears, and just a hint of spicy pepper. Sipping this beer will propel you into a world of citrus zest, more coriander, sweet ginger, and caramel malts, that all wraps up perfectly with a slightly acidic, subtly bitter finish.

Bottom Line:

Ommegang made its name by crafting authentic Belgian-style beers. While this beer is a great example of the style, it still falls very much in the Americanized category with all those adjuncts added in to goose the flavor profile.

Lagunitas Sonomica

Lagunitas

ABV: 8.2%

Average Price: $13 (four-pack)

The Beer:

Lagunitas is well-known for its signature hopped-up IPAs. So, it should come as no surprise that it went all out when crafting its version of a farmhouse ale. It gets its tart funk from Brettanomyces yeast and is aged in former red wine oak barrels. The result is a slightly acidic, sour, crisp beer that you’ll want to sip on all summer long.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is completely funky with scents of tart grapes, crisp apples, wet grass, and lemon rinds. The flavor is tangy, tart, and filled with sour apple, dried fruits, and funky yeasty flavor. The finish is a great combination of fruity sweetness and tart cherries.

Bottom Line:

If you’re an avid Lagunitas fan, you might be shocked by the flavor when you crack open a bottle of Sonomica. But you’ll quickly realize that there’s more to the brand than hop-bombs.

Stillwater Cellar Door

Stillwater

ABV: 6.6%

Average Price: $10 (four-pack)

The Beer:

Founded in 2010, Stillwater is a nomadic beer project that’s based in Baltimore. Over the years, it’s garnered numerous awards for its high-quality beers. One of its best is Cellar Door, a farmhouse ale that is anything by boring. Unlike many of the farmhouse ales on this list, Stillwater’s version breaks from the norm by dry-hopping and then steeping the beer with Jordanian sage tea.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is particularly bold on this beer. There are strong aromas of pine needles, lemon zest, subtle herbs, and a backbone of sage. The flavor is full of caramel malts, citrus peels, more sage, and a nice sweet, fruity, subtly bitter finish. The flavors are complex and diverse. It’s the kind of beer you’ll need to drink more than once in order to find everything.

Bottom Line:

If you’re not a fan of sage, this definitely isn’t the beer for you. Otherwise, crack one open and revel in the myriad other flavors that complement the herbal notes.

Off Color Apex Predator

Off Color

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: $10 (four-pack)

The Beer:

This 6.5 percent ABV farmhouse ale lives up to its moniker with the addition of Pils malts and flaked wheat supported by Crystal and Sterling hops. It’s made using free rise fermentation utilizing traditional Belgian Saison yeast. It’s then dry-hopped to add floral, crisp flavors.

Tasting Notes:

This beer doesn’t smell like any of the other farmhouse ales on this list. There’s a lot of floral, hoppy aromas as well as spruce, citrus zest, and sour, wine-like grapes. The palate is a nice mixture of sweet and tart with citrus, tropical fruits, bright hops, and tangy grapes taking center stage.

Bottom Line:

This is a great beer for fans of hoppy beers who’d like to try farmhouse ales. It has a nice, tangy, tart acidity that pairs well with its notable hoppy presence.

Prairie Standard

Prairie

ABV: 5.6%

Average Price: $11 (four-pack)

The Beer:

This beer is touted as a “Hoppy Farmhouse Ale” and, when you crack one open, this is exactly what you’ll find. This beer bridges multiple continents and time zones. It starts as a classic Belgian-style farmhouse ale before being dry-hopped in Oklahoma using Motueka hops from New Zealand. The result is a tart, subtly spicy citrus, and hop-filled beer.

Tasting Notes:

You’ll find scents of banana, caramelized pineapple, slight bread, and dried hay in the nose. Lemon zest, caramel malts, floral hops, and a good deal of funky yeast flavor are present from the first sip. It all ends with a nice mixture of sweetness, spice, and funk that will leave you craving more.

Bottom Line:

The addition of Motueka hops takes this farmhouse ale and kicks it up to another level. The floral, subtly bitter flavor pairs well with the tart, funky yeast flavor.


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