Which is odd, considering their Website reports that this is available year round: http://www.bluemoonbrewingcompany.com/OurBeers/product/Short-Straw-Farmhouse-Red-Ale I don't care what their site says, though, I'm pretty darned sure this is a summer seasonal.
Nevertheless, the reason I checked out about six stores for it was not because it's a super amazing beer, but it just a really solid red ale with a hint of citrus and just a few nice notes of hops to make it a very pleasing summer beer that won't weigh you down.
"Farmhouse Ales were brewed for the diligent farmhands who drew the short straw and had to work the arduous harvest. Our brewmaster’s expression blends the spiciness of a Farmhouse Ale with the tartness of a Flanders Red for a remarkably refreshing finish."
-- From the label (and their Website)
Pour & Nose
The pour was, honestly, unremarkable. Two fingers of white head that was washed away by a quick rise of bubbles. I thought this was going to be an aggressively carbonated beer, but that's not the case. The bubbles came and went quickly, leaving almost no trace of lace. The color was nice, though: a crisp, clear copper with just the right color for something daring to call itself a "red ale."
The nose was even better. Spices, citrus (I'd say pepper and hibiscus) with subtle hops notes. Pleasing, but not attention grabbing. Still, it has a nice, earthy honesty that I found refreshing.
Savor the Flavor
I'm not a big fan of Flemish sours, but this one has just enough bitterness from the hops and just a hint of sweet from the spices, citrus and malt to make this a very pleasing drink for these dragon's breath days of summer. I think what appeals to me is the crispness. There's something about it that reminds me of biting into a crisp, really bitter Granny Smith apple. Now, don't get me wrong. I am not suggesting that this has any sort of apple flavor or any underlying apple sweetness. It's just that this combo reminds me of the experience of biting into a really bitter apple.
And I like it.
Not bad, not good. A bit above average, which is why I didn't give it a 5 rating. The color and light taste seem perfect for summer by the pool or chilling with friends. It's not something I can imagine taking up permanent residence in my beer fridge, but it wouldn't be unwelcome if I found it in a cooler at a barbecue. Of course, I would let it warm up significantly before drinking it.
Thoughts from the bottom of the glass:
Type: Red Ale
Color: Clearly Copper
Aroma: Citrus, hibiscus, pepper, hint of hops
Hops: Mild, but aromatic
Malt: Subtle, but it does its job in the chorus supporting the main performers
Head: White but leaves the party early
Lace: Almost none
Bitterness: Nicely sour
Carbonation: Heavy, but dissipates quickly
Mouthfeel: Crisp, but with an odd bready quality as you near the bottom of the bottle
Temeprature Sweet Spot: N/A (I liked it cold and warmer, so 36-56 degrees)
My Rating: 7 out of 10
Summer fun in the sun rating: 9
Other Reviews Worth A Sip:
Most of the guys over at RateBeer.com hated this. They were really bitchy about the sourness and just seemed pissed that it wasn't a stronger version of some other type of beer. This is one of the only times I've found their reviews to be so out of synch with mine that they are utterly useless to me.
For more about Farmhouse Ales in general, check out this page over at BeerAdvocate.com.