We talked in last week’s blog about the notion of the daily beer, an all but forgotten tradition (IMO) going back to the days when an ale was regarded as one of life’s little necessities. If ever there were a style epitomising this, it is without doubt, the Farmhouse Ale; a low abv beer originally produced by Belgian farmers, using the malts and grains they were growing and which was consumed on a daily basis if there was enough grain to allow.
I’m into the self-sustainable efficiency of this and the notion too that beer was looked upon differently 150 years ago or so, when the practice of making this style was much more commonplace. However, today’s Farmhouse ale from American brewing giant Boulevard is a stark reminder of just how much the world of brewing has changed, and just how far beer styles have evolved too.
If you drank this farmhouse ale on a daily basis after a typically sweaty day’s graft in the field, then you'd be getting yourself in a spot of bother, as it weighs in at a whopping 8.5%; and it’s fair to say, that at this abv the self sustainable efficiency I mentioned before might take a hit. This is a modern day craft brewing mash up of styles at its most extreme and will challenge the purists whilst delighting the experimentalists.
Tank Seven is named after the tank in which the perfect combination of elements came together when the brewers at Boulevard were experimenting with traditional Belgian styles. In this serendipitous moment, “one of the ultimate food-pairing beers in existence” was created, according to the team at Boulevard, so let’s give it a whirl and see if that is indeed the case…
It’s a pale amber gold in the glass with a bright white head. The nose is fruity and slightly confected offering candied orange peel, grapefruit and apricot skins with a touch of “Spontaneous” funk - wet earthy notes. Wow, it’s just so alive in the palate… big and full and dying to be matched with a hard, aged, salty cheese of some description. All the notes on the nose are there in the mouth; this is a big beer with plenty of length and lovely tart notes that are bolstered by a sweet undercurrent. You wouldn’t guess it was 8.5% but, in the same breath, you certainly wouldn’t mistake it for a classic saison or farmhouse ale, despite the tart mineral notes and a certain fresh quaffability.
A remarkable beer in many ways and one that challenges the notion of just what a Farmhouse ale can be, which is ironic, as this is a style whose authenticity and classification constantly challenges the beer judges. But let’s not allow the semantics of beer classification cloud our judgement on what is a great ale that will, as they say at Boulevard, offer something akin to the ultimate beer and food matching experience.
Buy Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale here