Middle Brow Beer Company Robyn Blonde Abbey-Inspired Farmhouse Ale (6.9% ABV)
Pour: 12oz. can into a tulip glass
Appearance: Pours a hazy medium gold/straw color with about an inch of fizzy head that dissipates quickly. Decent edging, no lacing
Aroma: The yeast seems to dominate the nose. There’s a definite champagne aroma, along with some fruity notes underneath – apple or pear, maybe apricot. There’s a bit of hay as well.
Flavor: Understated. I’m getting a bit more Belgian yeast than farmhouse yeast in the flavor profile. It has subtle clove up front like a Hefeweizen, but that’s followed not by the banana/bubblegum notes of the Hefe style but stone fruit esters (apricot/peach) instead. Finishes like a Farmhouse ale, with a bit of yeasty funk and a mildly bitter aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, lightly carbonated, medium-dry finish.
After focusing exclusively on Indiana beers for a good couple of months now, I figured it was time to take a break from those and check out what’s happening over in Chicago these days. I was totally unfamiliar with Middle Brow Beer Co. until the pink cans of their Robyn caught my eye at my local. Since you don’t see too many pink beer cans, I decided to take a chance. Not only is it a tasty beer, Middle Brow has a pretty great story behind their operation as well. Founded in 2012, they started off by running monthly homebrew contests that give the winner a chance to have their beer commercially brewed and distributed, with half of the proceeds going to charity. They seem to have evolved into more of a community-based brewery since then, but their charitable approach hasn’t changed – half the profits from Robyn go to Cure Violence, an organization dedicated to reducing global violence through disease control and behavior change methods.
In terms of the beer, it’s a pretty interesting little concoction. Not quite a Belgian and not quite a Farmhouse, it has a flavor profile that’s somewhat difficult to describe. With Hefeweizen notes up front and a funky finish, it’s the sort of beer that looks like it would be a disaster on paper (I mean, just look at the tasting notes up above), but actually comes together surprisingly well. I don’t think I could drink it on a regular basis, but it’s definitely the beer I’ll reach for the next time I want something different.