Farmery Fresh Hop Ale (Harvest 2017)

I'm not exactly on the "good list" with Farmery right now, but I feel like I need to review every beer I get my hands on, assuming I can afford it and find it at the LC near me. Farmery just came out with a Fresh Hop Ale recently from their 2017 batch of farm-grown hops from their farm south of Arden, Manitoba.

According to their website, the 2017 Edition of their Fresh Hop Ale beer uses their 2017 harvest of Cascade and Centennial varieties. It's described as a smooth balance between bitterness, floral notes, and a subtle citrus flavour. A beautiful light and copper-amber colour. Filtered, with an IBU of 22.

Farmery is the very first brewery to open up in Western Manitoba since the demise of Empire Brewing in Brandon in the 1930s, so it's awesome to see that the area has a brewery that's brewing beers for people all over Western Canada!

Appearance: Fresh Hop Ale pours a clear, caramel brown body with a minimal amount of carbonation. For the head, it starts off with a full finger and a half's worth of foam, but it gradually diminishes just to a nice, minimal amount of head at the end.

Aroma: The first thing I got from this beer was that it was reminiscent to the Robbie Scotch Ale - it's a caramel/toffee forward ale. Following that, there's a bit of an earthy and grassy hop presence that works well for an end of autumn sort of theme. This is decently sweet and definitely works with autumn.. but with the weather being well into the negatives now, I'm kind of wishing this was a fresh hopped porter/stout!

Taste: The dominant flavours of this beer is caramel, a bit of a cereal bite of barley (reminiscent of the grainery), a hint of spiciness that I just can't describe.. it's a hint of pepper but not sure where it's coming from. The hops have a moderate grassy and light bitter presence to it, as well as a moderate earthiness to it. The earthiness is working well with the caramel sweetness but the Cascade pine-like notes are mostly in the background.

Overall Thoughts: The malt seemed to steal the show out of this beer, I was hoping for the Cascade/Columbus to dominate in flavour with a heavy pine presence. The hops definitely show up, but not as much as I'd like. This ale is a bit reminiscent of Robbie Scotch Ale to an extent, which has nothing wrong with it as the Scotch Ale is definitely more welcoming for the colder Manitoba winters. I like the earthy hop presence I'm getting here.. but I'd like to see more of their Cascade in this beer. For this being a Harvest Ale, this is on par with every Harvest Ale I've had this autumn so far. I hope one day Farmery is able to come out with a feasible Saskatoon Berry Porter, that would be interesting!

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