One of Oregon’s breakout new breweries last year was Hood River’s Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, a traditional farmhouse brewery based in a barn—yes, really—that specializes in (you guessed it) farmhouse-style beers. It was founded by David Logsdon, founder of Wyeast Labs and later co-founder and brewer at Full Sail Brewing.
Our traditional farmhouse brewery is located in Hood River County on a small farm where we also grow some of the hops we use in our hand crafted beer. Truly handcrafted in every sense of the term. We prefer to use locally grown whole organic hops, not pulverized hop pellets. We think you will appreciate the extra effort we take to make our beer this way. Our spent barley, oats and wheat are fed directly to our small herd of organic raised Scottish Highlander cattle.
They also have a small orchard of sharbeekse kreik (cherry) trees that they imported directly from East Flanders in Belgium; and they utilize local ingredients like peaches as well as just hops. This as-local-as-possible, rustic, traditional farmhouse approach easily makes Logsdon one of the most interesting brewing operations in Oregon right now.
Of course I’d been wanting to try their flagship Seizoen (a saison-style beer) when I first heard about the brewery and their approach to brewing, and with Jeff’s runner-up and People’s Choice selection of their Seizoen Bretta for the Satori Award, I had to try a bottle of that as well. So, since these are two same-family beers from the same brewery, a dual review!
I actually found a bottle of Seizeon back in the fall when we took a trip to Hood River for apple picking; we had stopped at a grocery in Parkdale (McIsaac’s Store) for refreshment before heading back to Bend and unexpectedly came across bottles of it and the Bretta, neither of which had shown up in Bend yet. I grabbed the Seizoen, and drank it not long after.
The brewery says of Seizoen, “Our unfiltered Seizoen, with its beeswax seal, is naturally fermented and carbonated with pear juice and select yeast strains, producing complex, fruity and spicy flavors balanced with whole hops and a soft malt character.”
It is 7.5% alcohol and charmingly, the bottle is wax-dipped in beeswax—another rustic, traditional touch that I really like.
Appearance: Lovely golden-orange color, with a lively carbonation building up a big whipped head of foam, even with a gentle pour.
Smell: Fruity, tangy, spicy: tangerine, leather (funk), white peppercorn. It all works well together and finishes with kind of an orange marmalade note.
Taste: Earthy, spicy, fizzy, dry; a bitter, peppery note from the hops and the spiciness (yeast phenols), lightly toasted bread crust in the malts with a touch of rye I think; earthy vegetal character like radish greens but not as spicy, so maybe more Swiss chard? Very, very nice, pungently pleasant with that note of farmhouse funk present. Appetizing.
Mouthfeel: Very carbonated and effervescent, finishes quite dry. Nicely light.
Overall: Fantastic saison, I’ve decided; hits all the marks and makes me want more.
The Seizoen Bretta is essentially the same beer, only half a percent stronger (8% abv) and spiked with Brettanomyces; the Brewery says, “Special Brettanomyces yeast provides added dryness and crisp complexity to the Seizoen Bretta. Bottle conditioned with pear juice for a natural carbonation.”
(Incidentally, that pear juice thing in both these beers? That’s a really nice touch.)
I picked up and drank this bottle 3 months after the Seizoen. This is of course the beer (of the two) that is getting the acclaim and getting noticed: people love their Brett and with good reason.
Appearance: Opened lively—foam is rising right out of the bottle! Poured with a big, active head of foam, off-white, over a golden honey-colored body.
Smell: Mildly floral and sweet nose, with a mellow line of tangy, slightly funky Brett running through it. Restrained, almost sublime.
Taste: The Brett does not come on too strong but it presents a nice funky tang right up front which turns into a dry, funky bitterness in the back. Dry, quenching character with a bit of peppery spiciness, and the Brett funk gives an earthy, grassy quality to it.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a lively effervescence and dry finish—a bit of an earthy aftertaste as it dries you out.
Overall: This is a very nice, really well-handled application of Brett with an already terrific saison.