Old MacDonald Had a Beer
A Review of Farmer's Tan Red Ale by Tractor Brewing Co.
Posted on 8/11/2014 by Chops
                   
Great
Craft beer has come a very long ways in a few short decades. Every now and then I will have an encounter that reminds me of this. I recently moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Part of any beer fan's transition is the hunt for local brews. I was in a grocery store one day and found myself scanning the beer isle. I abruptly stopped when several cans of beer started staring at me. That's not a metaphor. I mean staring, literally, with eyes of their own. Without so much as even reading the labels, I grabbed a few six packs and put them in my cart. It quickly dawned on me that, wow, I just got manipulated by a beer can's artistic merit. Remember when beer vessels were simplistic and actually contained the word ''beer'' on them? My how things have changed. Turns out, I had selected several offerings from the local Tractor Brewing Company. Up first in my newly acquired New Mexican nectar was their Farmer's Tan Red Ale.

In the glass, this beer had a lovely deep amber coloration with a reddish hue. It came with a frothy tan head that had good retention. On the nose, I was greeted by a sweet candied malty aroma along with notes of caramel and a light spiciness. I could already tell that this was a no-nonsense brew, just a straight up red ale for fans of red ales. Sometimes it can be quite refreshing to understand your beer ahead of time without taxing your brain too hard. I simply muttered ''yup'' and dove in for a taste.

Right away I could tell that this beer had a very nice balance of earthy malts and candied sweetness. Good amber ales should never be overly complex and should exhibit a few predictable core traits. Add a few brewing signatures and the result should be a widely appealing red ale. Tractor did a great job of crafting a familiar brew with subtle interpretation. I found sweet caramel, toasted bread, mild fruit, earthy roast, charred brown sugar, and a whiff of spice. The beer also had a respectable hop presence that did not overpower. The beer had a medium body and felt a tad gritty on the palate. The beer finished dry and exited with a bitter root-like aftertaste.

Overall, Tractor's Farmer's Tan Red Ale is a solid brew with a unique personality. It's a great session ale for seasoned beer fans, but it can be a tad challenging for novices. Not a bad thing mind you because novices need the occasional nudge from more flavorful offerings. Farmer's Tan Red Ale has great flavor and high accessibility, making it a wonderful bridge beer for curious fans. On the flip side, its has an earthy gritty punch that challenges taste buds. Course, I would expect nothing less from the cold stare of a sexy farm girl. Just picking up the can seems to question your manliness.

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Farmer's Tan Red Ale by Tractor Brewing Co.
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