I love beer. After now having visited over 230 different breweries, it’s fair to say I have sampled a lot of beer (follow me on Untappd).
However, I am definitely not a beer cicerone. I just swig, sample, and move on. As a result of my simple tasting abilities, we are partnering with Barrel & Keg, Salem’s great beer and wine bottle shop / taproom (home to Salem’s first and only food cart pod), and their beer guru Kelsey (who goes by Kelso). She will be providing some more technical feedback on the beer of the week.
From post-race pints and run club meeting locations, to beer miles and relays, running and the kegged nectar seem to go hand-in-hand in Oregon. We want to highlight a new beer each week that arrives to the B&K shelves (and may be able to be located in your local shop).
Check out previous post here!
Our Autumn Farmhouse ale is a harvest celebration of Pacific Northwest regional farms. Brewed with Organic North American malts, organic oats from Green Willow Grains (Tangent), Willamette Valley hops (St. Paul), and honey from Queen Bee Apiaries (Corvallis). This locally inspired ale features aromas of fruit and spice and a refining smoothness that balances a rustic hop finish.
Brewery: Block 15 Brewing (Corvallis)
Matt: We are sticking with the Corvallis theme (an under the radar city for great beer) in our second feature. Block 15’s Autumn Farmhouse is seasonal and only brewed in early fall. With the start of Autumn just now upon us, this seemed like a great beer to highlight.
I am slowly coming around more and more to the Farmhouse Ale side of things. I am not 100% sure what officially gives a “Farmhouse” style beer its namesake, when I think of this style, I imagine sourcing local ingredients and creating beers with “earthy” flavors. I also imagine the possibility of some slight variation from one year to the next, as with each new brewing season may come a few different tasting notes in the ingredients. I don’t know if any of that is correct (though it does appear accurate that defining Farmhouse Ales are a challenge).
What I do know is that this is a really solid beer. Even though I recognize that my palette is simplistic, I found the Autumn Farmhouse to be complex. My first sip yielded a full mouth of flavor – seemingly changing with each passing second. It was mild, yet fruity; different, yet comfortable. It was really a nice whirlwind of flavor that really did seem to fit my mental definition above. I think it provides a nice bridge for that early Autumn timeframe before the October pumpkin beers take full center stage.
Kelso: Block 15 relies on locally raised oats, hops, and honey for this complex autumn farmhouse ale. Bottle conditioning, as opposed to forced carbonation, contributes to the luscious three finger head. With farmhouse styles I prefer the bottle conditioned route to stay true to the rustic style. Bottle conditioned beers contain active yeast which work to naturally provide all the lovely little bubbles we know and love in foamy farmhouses.
This brew is delectable today and will only mature and develop as time passes, thanks to this conditioning technique. Every aspect of this ale has been smoothed out to provide a round full bodied brew. Although light in color, this beer packs a hefty wallop of flavors, something for everyone if I’m going to be trite. This noteworthy saison pours a hazy straw color with a honey fueled herbaceous nose. Smooth and spicy Belgian saison yeast accompany an herbal bitterness from Willamette Valley sterling and cascade hops that lingers for just the right amount of time after the party; like there to help clean up and get the sloshed guy home safely, but not there covered in marker and pizza crusts on your recliner the next morning.
Refreshingly tart, funky, and smooth, if this beer were a child, the brewers over at Block 15 in Corvallis would be proud of how well rounded their little bugger turned out.
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