Palmetto Brewing Company’s Colonel Rathbun Farmhouse Ale (7.8 percent ABV) is its first 2015 release from their “843 Series” and the brewery’s first saison.
Saisons, or farmhouse ales, originated in the French-speaking region of Wallonia in Belgium. They were developed to keep the farmers well hydrated during the harvest season by keeping the alcohol low and the hops high.
This ale is fermented using a French saison yeast strain. Colonel Rathbun’s Farmhouse Ale is fruity, earthy and spicy all at once. Its pear and apple aroma is due to the ester compounds (volatile flavors of fermentation) that develop by the yeast itself, while the addition of fully ripe Hachiya persimmons aids in drying out the finish of the beer and accentuating its fruity notes. The addition of pink peppercorns highlights the spicy phenol compounds produced by the saison yeast during fermentation while contributing their own unique and mysterious bite on the finish.
The Hachiya persimmons (also known as diospyros, fruit of the gods) come from Brickyard Point Farm on Lady’s Island in Beaufort.
Colonel James P. Rathbun was the original owner of Brickyard Point Farms (now run by Rathbun’s sons) and this ale’s namesake.
GrowFood Carolina sourced 60 pounds of persimmons for Palmetto Brewery, and a portion of proceeds from Colonel Rathbun’s Farmhouse Ale will benefit GrowFood Carolina as part of the “843 Series” mission.
Beers in the 843 series are limited-edition brews, typically available exclusively inside Palmetto Brewing Co.’s new tasting room. Each unique brew “843” beer taps into the Lowcountry in a special way. They will use locally sourced ingredients and also share proceeds with Charleston-area nonprofits that align with Palmetto’s core beliefs.
Palmetto Brewing Company. Available on draught inside the tasting room at 289 Huger St., and soon at select accounts in Charleston.
At the brewery: $5 for 8-ounce taster; $7 for a pint; $12 for a 32-ounce growler.
Collin Clark, certified Cicerone and Palmetto Brewing Company team member says, “Those who have visited the tasting room in recent months requesting something similar to a Belgian-style ale might find themselves pleasantly surprised by the flavor profile of this latest offering from Palmetto. ... More full-flavored than our Charleston Lager and far less hoppy than our venerable Pale Ale, this Farmhouse Ale is likely to appeal to a wide audience.”
Clark adds that the beer pairs well with lighter, delicate courses, especially those with a subtle or fruity spiciness, such as an arugula salad with fresh roasted beets, candied pecans and a cracked black pepper vinaigrette. Or pair it with local raw oysters dressed with a tart and peppery mignonette sauce.
“Colonel Rathbun’s Farmhouse Ale is a deliciously perfect example of GrowFood’s mission. The persimmons from Brickyard Point Farm historically had been wasted because Jim and Nancy didn’t realize there was a market for the fruit. By providing the connection for small growers to the Charleston market, we’re able to market everything from the farm, which provides the financial capital for the farmers to keep farming. Persimmon (especially the astringent Hachiya variety in the ale) are a tricky fruit to market fresh, but are a wonderful ingredient once ripe and Palmetto Brewing has created an exceptional local saison ale while helping an amazing farm.” — Sara Clow, GrowFood Carolina