Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Opal Farmhouse Ale: This beer is as multifaceted and attractive as the gem it’s named after. Officially a Wallonian (that’s the French-speaking part of Belgium) Saison (originally brewed in winter for the summer, hence seasonal), it’s got some slightly funky Belgian yeast at the heart of its brew, giving it a classic rustic under-flavor. Unlike some saisons, though, the result is more wine-like than barnyard.
There’s more, as the grain bill is both malt and wheat, so the color is a vivid gold and the flavors range from citrus to lemongrass. It ends up a bit more of an American take on saison thanks to its slightly-heavier-than-typical hopping, including a dry hopping that happens late in the process and mostly hits you in the nose, a fine place for hops to hit.
A wonderful summer sipper, if a bit hefty (7.5 percent ABV). Think aperitif or Asian food.