There is just something about January that makes me sad. I know for some people the winter time brings about feelings of desolation, isolation, and a general sadness that just cannot be shaken off. My sadness is nothing like that. It’s more about the longing for the spring, for some warmth, to be rid of what seems like an eternal damnation…too dramatic. It’s my first winter in Chicago, and although I’ve been told this is an off year and that next year will be the big one, I can’t help but think that this is only Cubs fans telling me this (Ba-Zing!). Luckily, my workplace meets for happy hours for the explicit reason of forgetting these feelings and enjoying each others companies with libations to smooth over the rough spots. At one of these such events, I discovered Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale.
Farmhouse ale arrived in a globe glass with two fingers of head gracefully balancing on top. The color was a straw yellow perhaps meant entirely to be tongue in cheek given its name. The aroma immediately burst of something funky, almost sour, which immediately turned me off. I couldn’t quite place my finger on it, but I swore that I was about to drink sour beer. I took another whiff and detected an element of sweetness and fruit lingering in the background. The sourness had disappeared mostly. My first sip was quite unusual. I was immediately hit with a hoppy IPA flavor (this not being an IPA makes this even more strange) that was immediately accompanied by bananas, bread, and a tartness like tangerines. For a medium bodied beer, this one felt heavy. I pictured this taste as a banana, a loaf of bread, and a tangerine riding together in a roller coaster car with only a lap bar keeping them from flying out, slamming into each other at every turn, and screaming their heads off during the big drops. Like a roller coaster, this was over quite quickly and I was left with just a haunting on my palette.
I did some research and found out that the sourness aroma in the beginning is commonly referred to as “Barnyard Funk” and derives from a particular yeast strain. Regardless, I still liked this offering from Boulevard. It’s complicated without being too complicated and is incredibly refreshing. This reminded me of the summertime which lifted the winter fog for just the right amount of time. You can pick up a 750ml bottle of Farmhouse Ale for $9 or so, or you can make your cash stretch a little further and pick up a 4 pack for around $11. I like this beer quite a bit and wouldn’t hesitate to bring this as a dinner party offering or to enjoy on a beautiful day.