New Brew: O’so Picnic Ants Farmhouse Ale

15 Jun

I’ve made no secret of my affinity for O’so Brewing and their willingness to experiment despite their recent entry into Wisconsin’s competitive craft beer market.  Their Jack’s Lantern (a pumpkin ale brewed with rye and smoked malt) wowed me this past fall and their silky smooth Dank (imperial red ale) wooed me this past winter.  Their summer seasonal, Picnic Ants  Farmhouse Ale, made its debut last year in bomber and draft, but I don’t think I ever had a chance to try it.  Luckily for me, they’ve chosen to release this year’s iteration in six-packs, one of which I quickly snatched up across the street at Barriques Fitchburg. I even found it on-draft at the Echo Tap of all places.  O’so is quickly becoming a ubiquitous presence in the Madison beer scene.

Belgian farmhouse ales, or saisons, are made for summertime – crisp, tangy, dry, spicy – perfect thirst-quenchers for those with a fondness for the funky.

O’so Picnic Ants Farmhouse Ale

Style: Imperial Saison/Farmhouse ale

Vitals: 7.2% abv; Styrian Goldings hops; yeast strain also used by the makers of Saison Dupont; ~$9.50/6-pack at Barriques Fitchburg

Company Line: “A deliciously fruity, spicy Belgian-style farmhouse saison.  What’s a picnic without ants!”

My take: pours a vibrant tangerine orange in the glass with a finger of creamy foam that hangs around ’til the end.  Bouquet is bright and peppered with citrus peel and spice and a faint hint of barnyard funk.  Black pepper, citrus peel, and tart, underripe fruit flood the palate, which strikes a balance between spicy and soured.  A lingering dry, slightly puckering  finish makes for a wonderfully refreshing warm-weather quaffer, despite its considerable strength.  The extremely high fermentation has led to plenty of funk and fruit and the yeast strain’s thoroughbred pedigree rounds out the drinkability quite well.  I’ll take Picnic Ants over picnic mosquitoes any day.

4 Responses to “New Brew: O’so Picnic Ants Farmhouse Ale”

  1. Ninja June 16, 2010 at 1:27 PM #

    Picked up a six pack of this last night based on your recommendation and was not disappointed.

    Never commented before, but I read your blog reguarly and really enjoy it. Keep up the good work.

    • 43north89west June 16, 2010 at 11:55 PM #

      Thanks for reading! How did you stumble across the site?

      I’m glad you weren’t let down by the Picnic Ants. One of O’so’s stronger offererings IMO. Great balance of spice, dryness and funk despite its imperialized nature.

      • Jason June 17, 2010 at 4:28 PM #

        I actually think it was a post on one of the Isthmus daily page forums. I never post over there (frankly I find it pretty irritating) but I usually lurk in the food categories and you posted a comment and a link pretty early-on in the life of the blog. Might have even linked to one of your first posts. Yeah, I’m old school like that.

        Anyway, like I said, I really like the recipes and beer reviews, so cheers to you!

      • 43north89west June 18, 2010 at 1:26 AM #

        Yeah, TDP Forums can try your patience and faith in humanity on a daily basis. I lurk much more than I post, for sure. Thanks again for reading. Tell your friends!

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