Craft Beer: Take the Thyme with The Farmer Is The Man

I have made several unsuccessful attempts to plant an herb garden. First there was a window box where my rosemary and thyme could feel the full power of the elements.

I had various pots of things here and there and then a lockdown planter that would probably have brought in some basil had it not been for the rocket that populated most of the growing area.

While a jar of dried herbs will only set you back for a pound, there’s nothing quite like tossing some fresh herbs on a piece of meat or fried vegetables to give them a taste awakening.

But while herbs are a welcome addition to food, what the hell do they have to do with beer? Don’t worry, this isn’t a food pairing column because as those lazy days around Christmas can attest, any meal goes with beer.

This week I picked up a can of The Farmer Is the Man – a season from our own Heaney’s farm brewery.

While seasons have sprung up in the arable fields of Wallonia, it is the rural fields of southern Derry that are responsible for this latest twist in the style, where a particular herb is an intriguing addition.

The Farmer Is The Man, which some at a certain age will recognize as a song by folk music predator Pete Seeger, is a lemon and thyme season.

At 5.3 percent, he pours a cloudy amber color with a slightly white foam into the glass.

I like a season that has a certain weight. Many can be thin and although refreshing at the time, they can be instantly forgotten. This is not one of them.

There’s a lot going on here in the dark. There is an initial fresh citrus feel from the lemon, however, and the usual funky yeast notes.

The thyme is slowly coming through, but it’s soon on the top, not only adding a little herbaceous feel to it, but adding an earthy sweetness to it (which is probably why it goes so well with roasted carrots).

It is a season that you will linger for a while, not out of indifference but more because of the opportunity to get different flavors out every time.

It’s all nicely balanced and complex and, in my opinion, way better with lemon and thyme than stuffing it in a chicken and stuffing it in the oven.

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