Farmhand Ale
Driftwood Brewery

Farmhand AleFarmhand Ale
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Farmhouse Ale - Saison
3.97 | pDev: 9.57%
Driftwood Brewery
British Columbia, Canada
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Farmhand AleFarmhand Ale
Notes: Our interpretation of this Southern-Belgian farmhouse ale uses a partial sour-mash and the addition of freshly ground black pepper. We use a very unique strain of yeast from Belgium to add further layers of spice and complexity to this rare style of beer.
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Reviews: 68 | Ratings: 183 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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thehyperduck from Canada (ON)

4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber purchased at the LCBO with no discernible freshness info; served slightly chilled. I've had a few bottles of this previously, going back to May (when it first started rolling out across this province), which means I've had some added time to refine my thoughts on this one.

Pours bright, clear and effervescent; its golden-hued body is crowned with a layer of creamy, white, meringue-like head, which is nearly an inch thick and lasts on and on. The lacing is a bit scant, but it looks great otherwise. I'm loving the peppercorn spiciness on the nose - it's subtle, blending in sublimely well with notes of clove spice, banana ester and bready, grainy pale malts; there's also a few light, fruity suggestions along the lines of apple skin and pear. Not only is it exactly what I expect from a saison, but that black pepper also gives it some added punch.

A quality brew all around; flavours of coarse grain and bready pale malt sweetness supply the backdrop, with peppercorn spiciness also being a sort of permanent (albeit faint) presence throughout the sip, peaking towards the back end. In the meantime, hints of apple, citrus peel and banana flit across the taste buds, followed up by a grassy, slightly spicy hop finish - a beautiful complement to the peppercorn and clove spice it accompanies. The aftertaste dries out quickly. Light-medium in body, with moderately low carbonation levels that weakly agitate the palate; honestly, this one could use a bit more of a bite, because it mostly feels smooth and soft - though that peppercorn spice does help fill in the void.

Final Grade: 4.14, an A-. Driftwood's Farmhand Ale is a pleasing, approachable, highly thirst-quenching saison that leans toward the lighter, more 'traditional' side of this style's spectrum. Bear in mind, this saison's abv is actually pretty low compared to most modern interpretations - thus, this brew more than makes up for its slight complexity deficit with its extraordinarily high drinkability. Not a mind-blowing beer, but still high-quality stuff that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.

Sep 07, 2018
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taxandbeerguy from Canada (ON)

3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Review from notes after some lawn work. 650 ml bottle was $6 CDN, glad to see more Driftwood offerings out this way. Served cold into a chalice.

Appearance - Hazy, rich golden color with lots of bubbles. Capped by just over a finger of dense and foamy white heas. Really good staying power and great looking beer.

Smell - Quite fruity with apples, pears and a hint of citrus. Some bready grains and candi sugar in behind as well as a distinctive Belgian style yeast.

Taste - Clean and crisp flavors with pear and peach and candi sugar sweetness most apparent. Some yeasty bits and definitely floral tasting leafiness mixed in. Perfumey but on the tastebuds. Just a touch too sweet.

Mouthfeel - Fairly crisp, medium bodied, good carbonation and more sticky than dry in the finish.

Overall - A tasty if slightly too sweet take on a Belgian Classic. Has a little La Fin Du Monde light going on with the peach and pear and perfumey flavor combo. Not as good, but similarities to that beer are never a bad thing.

May 19, 2018
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Perry_W from Canada (ON)

3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Very disappointed in this beer. The marketing is strong but the payoff is not there. Tales on the label of a special funky beer being made for seasonal workers leaves you anticipating some nifty flavours

Unfortunately this beer is basically just a run of the mill belgian ale type beer. Not bad.....very session-able (though not at $6 a pop)...but also very forgettable.

The look is okay. Slightly pale but nice and murky. If it's murky you know there's some good flavours goin' on. The smell is nice...perfect bouquet of a belgian wit or ale. The mouthfeel is great...nice body on this one. The flavour is where this beer drops the ball. The pale appearance was an indicator because the taste is just watered down. This is clearly a beer for normies who would rather be drinking some shite macro brew but every once in awhile go out to some gastropub

Apr 16, 2018
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a globe/tulip glass.

Tangerine orange and slightly clear with a touch of haze. Very fine carbonation, real hard to see that rises to an off white two finger head that dissolves and snaps out pretty quickly.

Aroma is quite nice if subtle. Mild sensations of brett, but a nicer almost juicy citrus orange like quality. A touch of floral and citrus mix and soft malt quality on the nose. Flirts with a bit of baby aspirin flavor also.

Quite a juicy palate for a saison. Peppery feeling and somewhat tasting mid palate, but more of a juicy tangerine citrus note than anything. Light bodied but a bit of malt depth with more fruity tones and quality than expected. Doesn't seem to have much classic Belgian character, and even the funk is small, but this almost has a bit of IPA like West coast fruityness mixed in.

Pretty unique tasting saison, if a little off character, but quite tasty I must admit.

Dec 27, 2017
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pootz from Canada (ON)

3.39/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

On tap - pours a hazed burnished gold with orange tint - 2 finger off-white cap. Bight spicy-peppery character, med-light body - aroma is fruity-spicy with solid cereal notes and some funk from the Belgian yeast. The flavor profile uses these elements but they hit the palate with different timing - light pastry malting p front is balanced by a bright peppery spiciness then fruity esters emerge - clean increasingly bitter-spicy finish - refreshing and well made.

Aug 13, 2017
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Borbly from Canada ()

4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy orange body with a pearly white head, no lacing. The scent is very strong with floral, yeast, and fruity flavours, a bit like LFM. The taste has a great deal of spice to it from the black pepper, along with great ester flavours. It's overall pretty smooth, though I think the carbonation could be better contained. Very pleased by this.

Feb 08, 2016
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LampertLand from Canada (BC)

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Driftwood Brewery 'Farmhand Saison' @ 5.5% , served from a 650 ml bottle purchased for $5.60
A-pour is a gold from the bottle to a rich copper in the glass with a small beige head that is leaving a fine lace along the tulip
S-some fruityness like banana bread in the front with black pepper in the background , Belgian yeast
T-the mix of flavors follow the aroma fairly close , fruit followed by spices , saison done local
MF-ok carbonation , medium body , enters the mouth nicely then burst's with sweet , fruit , bitter , spice , a crisp finish that will slightly sour the longer its held in the mouth
Ov-a well balanced saison , pleasant to taste and very easy to drink , good beer
prost LampertLand

Dec 24, 2015
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PacificNorthWester from Canada (BC)

4.53/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a nice zesty orange-yellow color in the glass with little foam. Nose of the beer yields notes of pepper, grass, light hops, and a hint of spice (very faint). Upon sipping the beer one is exposed to a nice tango of tang and pepper, resulting in a refreshing first sip. Over the course of enjoying this beer I particularly thought that the grass and pepper characteristics never over powered the other. Buy this for a refreshing break from the IPA's crowding the shelf.

Aug 22, 2015
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headlessparrot from Canada (ON)

3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours from a bomber into the glass an orange-copper colour, faintly hazy, and capped by two fingers of frothy white, large-bubbled foam. The head recedes to a finger fairly quickly but persists there decently, and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Smell is peppery, yeasty, earthy. Slight fruity esters--apple in particular. Lots of malt, and a faint funky sourness. Orange peel, lemon zest, perhaps some clove. Slightly soapy, but not unpleasantly so. Grainy with a bit of smell I generally associate most with rye beers.

Taste is the smell, redux. Slightly soapy, though again not unpleasantly. A touch of funk, a bit of sour. Cracker, rye (is there rye here in the grist-bill?), slight clove, citrus. Peppery spice. Carbonation is high-moderate, and the body is quite full. Yeasty, slightly vinous, slightly milky? Drying on the finish.

As far as saisons go, this isn't revolutionary. But it is pretty enjoyable, interesting, and shows some complexity. I've heard it said by a few people that Driftwood is giving Bellwoods and Dieu de Ciel a run for their money as "best brewer in Canada." I don't know if I'd go *that* far on the evidence of this beer, but it's certainly a nice, delicious offering.

Jul 30, 2015
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Trosevear from Canada (AB)

4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 650ml bottle

L: Amber Yellow Orange colour with a nice white head leaving lacing down the glass as it dissappear.

S: Citrusy sour smell to it with almost a sweet bubblegum tone.

T: Coriander and a slight bitterness to it with a tart taste.

F: Light bodied with a nice mouth feel.

O: A very nice easy drinking beer. Although not my favorite saison.

Jul 29, 2015
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Bunman3 from Canada (AB)

4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yes please. This is an incredibly accessible saison. The grainy, malty, spicy edge comes alive in your mouth. This was the perfect beer to kick off my summer holiday!

Jul 01, 2015
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souvenirs from Canada (BC)

3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Re-rated January 2018.

A: Head dissipated quickly. Visible carbonation. Amber/copper.
S: A bit funky. Sort of reminds me of sniffing a wine cork...
T: Lightly sour, yeasty flavours.
F: Carbonation could be a bit more restrained.

Apr 23, 2015
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StJamesGate from New York

3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tap & Barrel, Vancouver.
White film over burnished bronze. 4
Light floral and pencil eraser on the nose. 3.75
Honey graham, mashed pear, a touch of clove, and a zesty noble end. 3.75
Perfumed finish and honey linger.
Lt-med, smooth, clingy. 4

The most accessible farmhouse ale ever; the lightest touch of yeast and plenty of sweetness. Credit to Driftwood (if that’s what they set out to do.) Nothing revolutionary, but way sessionable. 4

Jan 28, 2015
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mactrail from Washington

4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Fairly dark amber with a thin veil of foam in the snifter. Smooth, tangy, and spritzy in the mouth. Has a substantial feel on the tongue.

Flavors are mellow and restrained. There is plenty of the Belgian yeasty taste and the drying effect, but it's less obtrusive than many Saisons. There is even a little of the American wheat taste, but here it helps make this lighter in a nice way. A slight sweetness and a pleasant grainy edge. Quite modest bitter tang at the finish.

Overall this is an elegant and highly quaffable Saison. From the 650 ml botle purchased at the BC Liquor Store in Ladner.

Dec 15, 2014
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HipCzech from Texas

4/5  rDev +0.8%

Serving: 650 mL bottle poured into a 0.3 L tulip glass (bottle "07.05.13").

Appearance: Slightly hazy, warm golden copper hue. Lush, bubbly off white head that slowly recedes with thick lacing.

Smell: Belgian yeast and spice (clove) dominate with a bit of malt, sweet citrus (mandarin) and funk as well.

Taste: Sweet and slightly toasty malt opens with tarter fruit, yeast and overall earthiness following. Finishes quite dry, with herbs and spice and bit of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation.

Overall: Fuller bodied, malty and hearty while more restrained on yeast and spice; overall a balanced and satisfying saison.

Nov 21, 2014
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flagmantho from Washington

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: medium copper hue with no haze and a moderately strong effervescence. Head is a finger of frothy white foam. Not bad!

Smell: toasty malt with some floral notes and just a little bit of saison funk. It's a bit subtle, but well put-together.

Taste: a little bit funky and almost a little sour; like the aroma, it's quite floral and a little bit toasty. It reminds me a bit of a bière de garde. It's decent, however there's a certain je ne sais quoi that doesn't 100% work for me. So, a good beer, but maybe not one that wholly suits my palate.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a huge carbonation and creaminess. Bam! Great.

Overall: this beer is definitely worth a try; however, note it is on the drier and toastier side.

May 28, 2014
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SebD from Canada (ON)

3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a nice hazy golden/orange color to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderately slow and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of Belgian yeast, black pepper, cloves, banana and some breadiness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has some Belgian yeast, black pepper, cloves, definite banana and some sweet bready malts.

Mouthfeel: It has a low-medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel. Body is definitely thinner than I thought it would be. I actually find it a bit watery.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas. This is the first time I'm disappointed with a beer from Driftwood. Maybe it's because I had really high expectations but it's still a good Saison nevertheless.

May 24, 2014
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jrenihan from Canada (ON)

3.94/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 11.21.13

Beer is clear copper in colour, with a small off-white head. Head fades quickly.

Nose contains Belgian yeast and spices. The black pepper shines through. Some light fruits.

Like the nose, the flavour contains black pepper quite strongly. A bit much, but not overwhelming. Light fruit flavours bring some balance, and are quite nice. A bit of yeast.

Medium bodied, moderately carbonated. A bit spicy.

Overall, nice. Not exciting but good.

Dec 22, 2013
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darryletlesballons from Canada (BC)

4.52/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been "checking in" on this beer every now and then for a few years now, as much a review of my partialities as of the beer itself. Still a favorite.

Visually appealing golden-amber beer with a full white head. I enjoy the gritty interplay of spicy clove and pepper on a sour base. Reminds me of a grassy Wit with more spice to bite, ending on the same dry "where-did-all-my-saliva-go" finish. Definitely the aroma of Belgian yeasts up front, setting the stage with a light sour grassiness and hints of tart apple followed by cloves. Not too much, not too little for flavour.

Until next time Madame Farmhand.

Dec 14, 2013
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JasonLovesBeer from Canada (BC)

4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This has been a staple all summer for me, just a great thirst quencher with a little more character than the typical pale ale.

Nose: Spicy! Lots of spice, from pepper to nutmeg to clove to steak spices. Some banana and apple/pear.

Taste: Crisp, light but fully mouth coating and nicely malted - spices both start and finish prominently, the pepper stays around for a while. Banana and apple, maybe a touch of peach? Not much breadiness for me, though what there is might be sourdough in nature.

Overall: Not a thinker, but a really enjoyable saison.

Aug 13, 2013
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EspressoGuy from Canada (BC)

3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: amber with orange hints; low carbonation; transparent
S: low intensity grapefruit rind, pine, nutmeg, bread dough
T: clean, broad, malty, well-balanced; more spicy maltiness than hoppy character; bitterness is there from the start and builds till it's prominent --but not excessiveness-- in the finish. Leaves a nice rich lingering aftertaste.
M: medium-modied
O: not particularly complex but rich and enjoyable. Very nice with simple hearty country food (ploughman's lunch, lentil soup or salad...)

Jun 03, 2013
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TheSevenDuffs from Canada (ON)

4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Garrick's Head

A - Medium orange; cloudy. A ring of off-white head.

S - Sweet bready malts, Belgian yeast and a big banana aroma with some spice in the background.

T - Clove, Belgian yeast and banana with a good spice profile in the backgound and some sweet breadiness.

M - Medium body. Moderate carbonation.

Mar 15, 2013
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Siriusfisherman from Vermont

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice Saison with a great peppery yeast character and nicely carbed body. The hops are not a dominant as some of their other beers, but they do lend a nice herbal presence to go with the yeast spice. The brewers here seem to know how to make great beer, haven't had anything I did not find great.

Jan 05, 2013
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Rutager from Canada (BC)

4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a fairly clear amber-gold with a thin, bubbly off white head that doesn't last long.

Smell. Fruity belgian yeast and peppery spices, just a bit of bananna and clove.

Taste. Doughy, lightly toasted malts, some Belgian yeast, a little clove, pepper and spices with just a trace of orange and lemon. Very nice.

Mouthfeel. Medium body, medium+ carbonation.

Overall. Very nice belgian style farmhouse ale with mild flavours that I would think would go well with almost any food. Really easy drinking.

Sep 23, 2012
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spoony from Colorado

3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Hapa Izakaya in Vancouver, BC.

A-Nothing special, but not awful, either. Light gold in color and very little haze. A one-finger off-white head dissipates quickly. Lots of lacing.

S-A little funky. Some sweet yeast and a little spice. A touch of banana. Not a hop-monster by my estimate, but there was a hop note or two.

T-Tastes much like it looks and smells, i.e., a little funk and a hint of spice with a pretty sweet, yeasty backbone. More banana bread notes in the taste than the smell. Some malt flavor with very little hops.

M-Not much in the way of carbonation. Had a bready, sweet quality that I would rate as heavy medium body (for the style, especially). An easy drinker.

O-Not a bad effort... One rung below my New World saison measuring stick that is Tank 7. It wasn't a complex show-stopper, and it was a touch sweet (and probably would benefit from a little more carbonation), but I would drink this again.

Sep 03, 2012
Farmhand Ale from Driftwood Brewery
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 183 ratings