A short while ago I reviewed one of my favourite beers from Peak Ales; one of my local breweries. In this Farmers Blonde review I also mentioned another one of their beers, so I thought that I should give it the full tange treatment and review it thoroughly. This excellent beer is Bradfield Farmers Stout.
Bradfield Brewery brewed its first beer in April 2005. They are based in High Bradfield; a village not far from Sheffield, in South Yorkshire. The brewery is very much a family concern and is housed in a former dairy farm (White House Farm) – the family who own it decided that a change from farming to brewing was their future challenge. They use natural ingredients and water from the nearby Peak District to produce their range of cask ales; many of which have won CAMRA and brewing industry awards in the few years since their formation.
Bradfield now brew a core range of four regular beers, supplemented by a few seasonal and special ales. These include Farmers Blonde (a blonde bitter at 4.0% ABV), Farmers Bitter (a good standard bitter at 3.9% ABV) and Farmers Brown Cow (a chestnut coloured beer at 4.2% ABV). These beers (and the others produced at the brewery) can be found regularly around Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. They also appear as guest beers and at beer festivals nationwide.
*A Bit of Background*
As with the other Bradfield beers, the stout pump clip (and bottle label) takes its inspiration from the brewery’s farming heritage. In this case the main image is a tractor. Also featured is the Bradfield trade mark picture of a millstone – showing the Peak District location of the brewery. Farmers Stout is also an award winning beer – it got the Silver Award in the Porters, Strong Milds, Old Ales and Stouts category in the 2007 Regional Beer Competition from SIBA (Small Independent Brewers Association.
Farmers Stout weighs in at 4.5% ABV and (as the name suggests) is brewed in the style of a stout. Stouts are typically dark, almost black beers, made with highly roasted malts, but within the style there are many different types, strengths and flavours.
*Look, Aroma & Texture*
Looks wise, Farmers Stout is a dark brown/almost black coloured beer with a long lasting creamy milky coffee coloured head. Aroma is predominantly chocolaty, with hints of coffee, floral hops, berry fruit and roasted malt. The scent is quite subtle, but certainly has a lot going on. The texture is quite full bodied with a slightly chewy texture – probably related to the addition of flaked oats in the brewing process.
*Tange’s Taste Test*
As with the aroma the flavour isn’t as “in your face” as some beers – rather the tastes are complex, bubbling under the surface and giving a good balance to the beer. To start with there doesn’t seem to be much flavour at all, but this soon gives way to a sweet chocolate and coffee taste, complimented by a sweet berry fruitiness and a slight treacle toffee element. This leads to a hoppy bitterness that in turn gives way to a finish and aftertaste that is short and a little sweet.
~~~WHAT I THOUGHT.
Along with the Farmers Blonde, this stout is one of my favourite choices from this brewery. All of the Bradfield beers are pretty strong quality wise, but the Stout and Blonde take it for me in terms of consistency of taste and performance. I find the stout to be surprisingly refreshing for a stout and I am also a fan of the subtle flavour balance – you aren’t going to find any of that extremely bitter, burnt taste you get from a stout like Guinness, that generally make people say they don’t like stouts. What you get is a more balanced pleasantly malty beer, that combines bitter, sweet and fruit in a delicate way.
It is full of flavour, but in a less harsh way and consequently makes for a good overall drinking experience. MY drinking experience took place at the Nettle at Milltown (a nice little pink painted pub) near Ashover in Derbyshire. They have recently started serving a selection of Bradfield Brewery beers, after previously been a Hardy & Hansons pub, prior to the take-over by Greene King last year. The pub has definitely improved since the Bradfield beers appeared and we do tend to go there more often. Expect to pay around 2.20 to 2.40 for a pint of Farmers Stout – the cheapest I have seen it in a pub was at the Sheaf View (near Sheffield) where it was just below the two quid markbut that is unusual! We also had it at Chesterfield Beer Festival where we charged 1.10 a half.
I am certainly a fan of Farmers Stout and have no hesitation in recommending it to stout drinkers everywhere. I also advise those who have been put off stouts by the harsh mass produced stouts like Guinness to give this one a try – it may just surprise you!
Watt House Farm
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