As the weather appears to be getting a little bit brighter, and the nights are getting a little lighter, my thoughts are turning towards the light side! That is the light side of beer by the wayrather than the dark winter warmers. When we were planning beers for our recent beer festival we were ordering a couple of choices from our local breweries – as Bradfield Brewery are not too far away we opted for three of their portfolio. One of these is Farmers Blonde – a beer that is becoming increasingly popular with Real Ale fans.
Bradfield Brewery is based in the village of (surprise, surprise) Bradfield in South Yorkshire – not far from Sheffield. It is housed in a former dairy farm (Wall House Farm) and uses local Peak District water and natural ingredients to produce a range of cask ales, many of which have since won awards in the brewing industry and from CAMRA beer festivals around the country.
They now brew four regular beers and a selection of special and seasonal beers. These include Farmers Stout (a dark roasty beer at 4.5% ABV), Farmers Bitter (a good standard bitter beer at 3.9% ABV) and Belgian Blue (a seasonal Christmas beer at 4.9% ABV).
*A Bit of Background*
As with the majority of Bradfield beers, Farmers Blonde takes the inspiration for its pump clip picture from the dairy farm that houses the business. All the pump clips also feature a picture of a millstone – showing their Peak District roots and farming heritage too! Farmers Blonde shows a rather pretty (for a cow) blonde cow as its main image. A popular beer, the Blonde is also a Gold Award Winner in the Speciality Beers category at the 2007 SIBA North Regional Beer Competition.
Farmers Blonde weighs in at 4.0% ABV and is brewed in the style of a blonde bitter.
*Look, Aroma & Texture*
As you would expect Farmers Blonde is a pale yellow blonde beer – clear and bright with a small off white head. Aroma is primarily of citrus fruit (lemon), with hints of caramel, honey sweetness and a very slight spiciness. Texture is light, fresh, but is slightly grainy on the palate.
*Tange’s Taste Test*
As with the texture, the flavours of this beer are quite light and fresh. There is a pleasant fruitiness throughout, nicely balanced out by an underlying lemon flavour. As you drink a sweetness develops, showing itself in a light sweet malt taste and a flavour that is not unlike cake (or maybe the marzipan on the top!). Add to this a little spice, the same honey flavour that was present in the aroma and you get a complex and tasty beer. The finish and aftertaste is also quite sweet, but not overly so for my palate.
~~~WHAT I THOUGHT.
Of the beers I have tried from Bradfield Brewery, Farmers Blonde and Farmers Stout are my favourites. When I am in the mood for a dark beer I stick with the Stout, but the blonde is definitely my all round choice. It is tasty and light and is certainly a refreshing beer for a summer’s night, but it also has bags of flavour, making it suitable for any time of year.
There is a lot going on and there are several layers of flavours that develop and give a good mix of tastes – a sign of a well crafted beer. The light golden colour also gives it a wider appeal than some of the darker beers on the market. The excellent tastes makes it a favourite with the Real Ale drinkers, but the colour and fresh taste will hopefully entice in some of the lager crowd! Do bear in mind that it is a sweeter beer, not bitter.
My last pint of Farmers Blonde was at The Sheaf View near Sheffield. Their prices are cheaper than elsewhere, putting it at the 1.85 a pint mark. Generally expect to pay around 2.00 to 2.40 a pint. I am quite lucky because I live in the area that the brewery supplies to regularly, but you will see their beers at beer festivals. They are also a member of the SIBA (Small Independent Brewers Association) making their beers more readily available to public houses that are tied to Pub Companies.
I certainly recommend Farmers Blonde to those who appreciate a refreshing slightly sweet blonde beer. I also urge people to give it a try if they see it on the bar! It is a well brewed beer and is one that I have enjoyed again and again.
Watt House Farm