Rockmill Le Cheval Farmhouse Ale
By Bill Lau | Potable Pastime
Farmhouse ale/session saison, 5% ABV; “Moins, c’est plus” (less is more).
375 ml (12.7 fl oz) corked & caged bottle.
Rockmill Brewery, Lancaster, OH
Hi, I’m Troy McClure! You might remember me from such Potable Pastime beer reviews as Rockmill Petite Saison and Rockmill Witbier. I’m here today to review Le Cheval, a farmhouse style ale from this Lancaster, Ohio brewery that specializes in Belgian beer styles.
OK, so now you know I’m an old Simpsons fan from wayyyyy back when. Actually, I’m fluent in characters and dialogue from a number of TV shows and movies, and any one of them could pop up at any time in response to a comment or topic of conversation. (Well, maybe not ANY time; only when it’s funny!) (Nod to Roger Rabbit there. Hope you caught it.)
Seriously though, I truly do enjoy a variety of Belgian beer styles, and especially appreciate craft breweries that make authentic, quality interpretations of those styles. Brewery Ommegang in New York is one. Unibroue in Canada is another. And Rockmill right here in Ohio is yet another and our focus today. More specifically, their farmhouse ale (described on the label and their website as a session saison) Le Cheval.
Note: I rolled the bottle before opening to rouse some of the yeast sediment into suspension; so be advised this affects my notes for appearance.
Appearance is a hazy, deep straw-gold hue capped by a snow-white pile of foam which gradually settles to a solid cap, beckoning me in for a taste. But, managing a moment of self-control, I first take note of the heavenly scents rising from the glass – notes of candied citrus peel and coriander seed with some yeastiness in the background. Ahhhhh…now this smells like victory. (So much better than napalm, I gotta say!)
Self-restraint all but gone at this point, I take a sip. My palate is graced by a moderately light body with very fine, fizzy micro-carbonation tickling the tongue. Bright, zippy flavors virtually burst upon my tongue, with lemon peel and gooseberry, joined by earthy yeast and coriander. Le Cheval presents a tart and tangy character initially; a light bittering combines with that tart edge to keep it on the drier side. This carries into the finish with growing spice tones and mildly astringent bitterness, while clinging to some of that tanginess all the way through.
If you enjoy a session strength brew that delivers plenty of flavor and character, this one most certainly fits the bill! Cheers!
Disclosure: The author has received no reimbursement or compensation for this article. All opinions and remarks are those of the author alone. Any resemblance to any cartoon character, past or present, is purely pop culture reference.