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Are farmhouse ales actually made on farms?

Not anymore, but they used to be.

Farmhouse ales used to exist out of necessity. For centuries, drinking beer was safer than drinking water. European farmers needed a beverage that was low enough in alcohol so they could still accomplish their daily tasks, while also gaining a bit of sustenance; thus, the farmhouse ale was born. These beers are traditionally made with ingredients found on the farm and can be a bit funky and smell like straw or hay. Farmers would usually brew these beers in the winter and then drink them through the entire growing season up until the point of harvest.

Farmhouse ales were all but dead until the craft beer industry revived them. You’ll most often see them on brewers tap lists around harvest time. It’s unlikely now that your average farmhouse ale was actually made on a farm, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious.