"So God Made A Farmer"

Brewery and Country of Origin: Boulevard Brewing Company of 2501 Southwest Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA

Date Reviewed: 5-23-13

Originally brewed out of necessity, the Farmhouse Ale, or "Saison," is a seasonal beer style which originates from the French speaking region of Belgium, Wallonia. Farmers in the region would brew a light, refreshing beer in the winter months in time for consumption during the warmer summers on the fields. Demand for these beers was driven by the fact that potable water was hard to come by before the era of refrigeration. And while working, the farmers needed a way to stay hydrated without getting sick or drunk. Therefore, the original farmhouse ales were weaker beers (around 3.00-3.50% ABV) which allowed for a more refreshing, lighter body which didn't incapacitate the workers. Hops were used to preserve the beer for longer periods of time, as weaker beers tend to spoil sooner than stronger ones. These were the same preserving, antiseptic properties of hops that were discovered with the advent of the India Pale Ale, and allowed British trading companies to transport beer to India, a journey which took several months in an unrefrigerated tall ship. The workers were entitled to consume up to 5 liters of farmhouse ales per day. Today, the farmhouse ale is experiencing a bit of a revival as more American breweries are gaining interest in producing the style, albeit much stronger (around 6.00-9.00% ABV). Many of these beers are bottle conditioned, and some use replica yeast strains of one of the original Belgian crafters, Dupont Brewery, which is located on a working dairy farm. The brewery uses a very distinct yeast strain ideal for farmhouse ales. This yeast performs better in warm fermentation at a temperature between 84 and 95 degrees F, about 20 degrees higher than most other Saison specific yeast strains. The particular beer, the Saison Dupont Vieille Provision is a working "template" for other modern takes on the style, and was named the "Best Beer In The World" by Men's Journal in 2005. The term "Saison" comes from the French word for season, emphasizing this beer's seasonal nature: brewed in the late fall/winter, stored (or blended with Lambics or more mature saisons) in the spring, and consumed in the summer. These beers were brewed specifically in the colder months because there was a much smaller chance of the fermentation getting spoiled by airborne bacteria, which peaks in the summer. The process of brewing the beer also gave the seasonal workers something to do in the off season (after the harvest). Blending the brews with other beers like lambics reduced the ABV and increased the refreshing acidic qualities of farmhouse ales.
Date Sampled: 5-17-13 At: Joshua Tree Somerville, 256 Elm Street, Somerville, MA, 02144 USA
Beer Style: American Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 8.50%
Serving Type: Keg, 16 oz Tulip Glass
Rating: 2.68


Tank 7 pours pretty smoothly with a medium low amount of carbonation action, giving it a thin, quarter inch tall foam head with a medium high density, and a moderate level of retention. This beer showcases a full amount of lacing, and a hazy, cloudy appearance which glows fairly brightly with a golden color in light. This is caused by a modest amount of very fine sediment.


This beer has a medium low strength aroma which primarily features the use of pale, unroasted malt, as well as aromatic citrusy hops which give off fruity, banana and clove like notes. Overall, this is similar to lighter Belgian summer beers in terms of aromatic character. There is no alcohol detectable in the aroma. A bit of grassy notes are present.


This is a medium light bodied brew with a medium viscosity, a low weight, a medium low carbonation, and a fairly dry finish. Overall, this beer has a smooth texture, which is not impacted by the fine sediment included. This beer also has a crisp and airy feel, with a pretty refreshing finish. This beer does not have any alcohol warming.


This Farmhouse Ale has a bittersweet paler malt flavor characterized with a fairly overpowering acidity and balanced with some fruity banana clove and some coriander notes. This beer has a good amount of bitterness with a hoppy and dry finish with a somewhat lingering bitter aftertaste. This beer has no alcohol flavor, and no aspect is too overpowering. There are some grassy and grainy notes present, and slightly underwhelming malty character.

Our Take

First off, we believe its safe to say that this beer shouldn't be the top choice for any farmer who plans on getting a full day's work done. Though this was indeed a fairly refreshing beer for its strength (8.50% ABV), this brew had a bit of overpowering qualities, mainly its acidic flavor. This beer was also weak in broadcasting a proper aroma, and there was a bit too much emphasis on this beer's fruity notes. The grassy notes included in this beer were a bit distracting as well. That said, there were some good properties of this beer which we think makes it a fairly decent summertime sipper. It is pretty crisp and light for a moderately high strength beer, and we believe it wouldn't pair poorly with a sunny beach party. Aromatic hops added a bit of character to this beer's floral aspects, as well as some sharper fruity notes, aside from the more mellow banana and clove flavors. Overall, this wasn't a beer we fell in love with. If you're looking for a great way to get into summer beers, this may not be the best choice, unless you're looking for something a bit stronger. Of course, we are going to try more farmhouse ales as the summer approaches, but don't count on any of us doing any real farm work... or manual labor in general.