This is a review I did earlier this year for something else. I thought the beer thread looked sad lately, so here's this to hopefully pick up its spirits.
Ok, so coming off the brewery and focusing on one beer, this week I picked Farmer's Friend. I am suprised by the fact that more people don't fancy this beer. Farmer's Friend totes itself as an Irish Ale, but is in no way to be confused with a Caffreys and should be pushed more towards a Smithwicks, but keeping a slightly pale ale boast to it. Palisade brewery loves its hops in almost all its beers - save for the Pal, which tastes like water.
Ok, its an ale, its a bit hoppy, its a bit of dark amber in color, its got about a pinky thick head after resting a moment, and loses all of its head by half way through. The smell coming immediately after pour is like pine nuts, roasted almonds, and a floral aroma associated with hops. The taste may be thought of by many to meet its smell, but the taste of this beer is what I think a beer should taste like. You might at first think your drinking a porter tasting a roasted malt sweetness roll off your tongue, but then you will get the kick of hop bitters after swallow. The hops aren't too strong, but if you don't think about it, you will consider you may have had a sip of pale ale to drink. A sniff of the beer and second sip will open up a much deeper malt flavor, which will slowly over take the hop after taste. In my opinion the alcohol by volume to the sweet medium-dark malt flavor have found a balance that will make you smack your lips and declare that you are definitely drinking a beer.
The tannin level at first glance of the tongue indicates a desire to reach that of a weak port, but they are quickly rinsed away with the smooth drinking of a good ale. Also of note, some people mention that they can taste a bit of iron or a metallic taste in the beer. I've always found that I cannot quite detect a small amount of iron in food and enjoy a slight metallic taste to some degree, but in this beer I do not taste it. It goes down the hatchet with very little wince-factor (applied to hard to drink beers based on non-familiar or unwanted taste).
This beer doesn't exactly have a lot of frills, but the interesting balance of hops and sweet malt to its alcohol content will keep you wondering whether this is a true Irish Ale or perhaps more of a new hybrid Irish-Pale-Ale. I definitely like this beer and will keep drinking it on the road to heaven. Therefore I give this beer:
5.8 out of 7 pickled footballs!