Good evening, everyone. Welcome to another Thirsty Thursday Beer Review. Today, I’ve got something suitable for this out-of-season Indian Summer we’ve been experiencing. It’s Great Divide’s Colette Farmhouse Ale. I’m not too familiar with farmhouse ales or saisons. I’ve had a few, but each one has been a different take on the style. I know they’re typically bright, tangy, and fruity but without a fruity sweetness. And, this bottle of Colette describes itself as dry, fruity, and tart, so I’m thinking we’re on the right track here. The only thing left to do is open it.
Cracking the top reveals a crisp, slightly sweet, almost straw like scent, that pushes up through the bottle top with an above average strength. The notes aren’t faint at all, but they’re not overpowering. Fresh apples dominate the fruit characteristics, with a sweet, probably yeasty earthiness underneath. The back notes are brought up by cereal malts, markedly different from the more bready malts. Almost like the scent of a rice cake. The aroma as a whole is very crisp and refreshing that speaks of summer.
The first taste from the bottle is just like what was found in the opening aroma. Fresh apples, straw, and light, earthy yeast create a dryness on the tongue and cheeks that lingers quite nicely. The sweetness of the apple is subdued under spices such as cinnamon, some nutmeg, and a slight hint of clove. These spices are buried though, so don’t expect them to stand out unless you’re taking your time and looking for them. The dry fruitiness hits the front of your tongue, hiding a lemon tang that appears after the first taste, before morphing into a crisp, fresh fruit tang at the back of the mouth. Cereal malts make up the secondary flavor notes, lighter and a bit more crisp than the bready malts, contributing very nicely to the crispness presented by the apple driven fruit profile. It feels great, both refreshing and easily drinkable. Its alcohol content isn’t noticeable, but you can feel the tart tang from the fruit across your tongue, which is basically the beer’s way of making sure you stay invested in all of its flavors.
Poured into a pint glass, the apple tang dominates the aromas, gliding up from the glass on wings of cereal malts. The next aromas to arrive are light and floral, not overpowering at all, but adding freshness and the slightest hint of earthy sweetness at the edges of each breath. The potency of the aromas have increased a bit from the bottle, but they’ve done so uniformly. I can’t detect anything new from the bottle, which is fine, because I’m loving the fresh apple vibe. It looks super bright and vibrant, pouring a slightly cloudy gold, with a thin white head that fades quickly.
The pint glass taste doesn’t change much from its bottle taste. There’s a slight bitterness that wasn’t there before, but the apple tang brings enough sweetness to counter and push the bitter notes to the far back. There’s also another splash of lemon juice, chilling out with the apples, that gives a bit of a sour kick. The cereal malts bring up the rear, framing the sweets, bitters, and tangs like a pro. The aftertaste ins’t too long, just a slight, earthen tartness that diminishes to almost nothing after a few moments. Like the bottle, it’s light, crisp and refreshing. It’s almost like a shandy, without the strong fruit sweetness or the lasting characteristics. There’s slight sweet edge to it, but the apples in this beer contribute mostly flavor and freshness, leaving the sweetness to the malts and yeast.
After my glass has been drained, I’m pleasantly surprised at the outcome. I wasn’t sure if I would like a fruity tang without a defined sweetness, but I now realize this style is one that I’ll definitely have to check out again soon. The flavors in this beer were super fresh and bright, tasting like each ingredient had just been harvested before going into the bottle. The apple tangs and the cereal malts lead the flavor and aroma charge, providing a unique combination of flavors that were refreshing, while holding each other in check. It’s dry over the tongue, and the flavors seem to effervesce off of the tongue just a few moments after you take a drink. It also looks as bright and fresh as it tastes, pouring a glowing, cloudy hue of gold. It has great drinkability as well, feeling and tasting refreshingly bright. I can see the flavor combinations being a bit odd for some. The tang does take a little time to get used to, and I’ll admit there were a few instances where the apple notes didn’t seem to last as long as I would have liked, but this definitely isn’t a beer breaker. It can be a tad pricey as well, as most craft beers are, but if you find this in a sampler pack like I did, you’ll have a nice variety to keep things interesting.
My suggestions for optimum enjoyment of this beer include on those annoying Indian Summer days, where you’re longing for that wonderful autumn chill, but instead its 80 at 8:00 pm. It would also be nice after an afternoon of yard work, with its refreshing brightness bringing a kick back into your day. It’s definitely a unique style of beer, but if you’re looking for fresh and perky flavors, this is a tasty choice that will treat you real nice. Great Divide’s Colette Farmhouse Ale earns a solid B+.
Price: 8.5/10 (.5 sampler bonus)
Lasting Strength: 8/10
Overall: 8.9-10 B+