In the world of Craft Beer the terminology of “Farmhouse Brewery” has different meanings. There are “Farmhouse Breweries” and there’s also “Farm Breweries and there are differences. Farmhouse Breweries actually began showing up in the late 19th and early 20th century in rural areas of France and Belgium. These breweries produced beers called farmhouse ale which is a style of beer that still exists today. These beers were brewed at farms using natural, untreated water, yeast that was cultivated from the surrounding area and other ingredients grown on the farm such as barley and wheat. Often the farmers would brew their beers for their own consumption and also for the workers on the farm.
Today, these beers are still known as “Farmhouse Ales” or Saisons and are still very popular with Craft Brewers. A Farmhouse Ale or Saison is a very complex style that’s pale, fruity, spicy, somewhat tart with a medium amount of bitterness. Usually these farmhouse ales will range in alcohol from 4.5% to 8% or even higher. These beers are very refreshing and are often brewed for the summer months as they were in France and Belgium. American craft brewers will get very creative with this style and add other natural ingredients to the beer. They utilize anything from fresh fruit, nuts, spices, and even dark roasted malt.
Farmhouse Ales, because they are a style of beer, do not have to be brewed on a farm and are often brewed in urban breweries. Farm Breweries, sometimes located at a farm, are breweries that source their ingredients from that farm or from other local farms. Next time I will cover these breweries and how they operate. Cheers!