May has always represented the unofficial start of summer for me. Thermometers gain toxic mercury, warblers start migrating north, sweaters are stashed in winter chests, farmers markets pop open, and the fuzz from peaches start to tickle the lips. There is no quintessential summer fruit quite like a luscious peach bursting with nectar sent from God himself. The fruits from the farm might be the best part about the summer months… and Allagash is capitalizing off of this by brewing an especially tartly, refreshing brew. Farm to Face is an American pêche brewed in Maine with peaches from a local orchard in New Hampshire (ironically called Applecrest Farm) and fermented with souring yeast. Over 6,000 pounds of
heaven peaches find their way into the barrels for aging, which for me, makes this the unofficial beer of summer. Time to run them numbers…
Appearance: Hazy orange with little head retention. What I’d expect to see out of a pêche from Allagash.
Smell: Stone fruit, lemon, acidity, peaches, must, wood. I’m not getting a huge peach aroma and it’s pretty balanced for being a fruited sour. Time to dive in.
Taste: Unfreaking believable. Huge sour punch up front that nails the tip and sides of tongue – it hurts so good. And just as you’re recovering from the massive blow of sour euphoria, you get hit by truckloads of peaches. This beer has more peach flavor than Georgia. It is so distinguishable and so present that I’m left scratching my head wondering how the heck Allagash did it. Pechish Woods was a fine beer also made by a New England brewery, but Farm to Face blows it out of the water, especially with its fruit presence. Typically, when I’ve had fruit forward beers like this, my palate gets used to the sourness or the fruit flavors relatively quickly and the beer drops off as you drink, but from start to finish with this Allagash I never had that experience. Peaches and sour for miles. The mustiness and wood flavors from the oak don’t really impart themselves all that much – maybe some slight tannic bitterness on the finish – but this beer drinks very clean for being barrel aged for nearly a year.
The ABV on this brew is low at only 5.7% and does not distract from the glorious flavors in the bottle. The mouthfeel is light and the carbonation is present. Nothing overpowering, but in that perfect sweet spot for lower ABV sour. And of course, the drinkability. If I could make one beer an Everlasting Gobstopper, it would be this one. I could crush these; it would be my summer beer in the spring, fall, and winter.
Overall: Well, at this point you know where this is going. A+ and into the hall of fame. Quite possibly the best beer I’ve ever had. I did have this beer two other times – once on draft (2015) and once in the bottle (same as this one – 2014). The 2015 did not taste this fruit forward from what I recall and compared to the previous 2014 bottle, I can say that aged served this well. It’s much more sour but the fruit hasn’t dropped off at all. Hit the trading forums, this is one that you’ll want to experience just like that first ripened peach in May.