ANBL has been bringing in some interesting beers as of late. Better still, they’re bringing in styles that were previously unavailable anywhere in New Brunswick. I still find it hard to believe that before now there wasn’t even one saison or farmhouse ale listed in the province (other than the slow-moving Lobster Saison by PEI Brewing; I think the name threw people off). And for how close we are to Quebec, it seems odd that the selection of Quebec beers is limited to a couple of Unibroue’s, which you can pretty easily get in most North America. Enter La Trou du Diable a couple weeks ago, one of a growing number of excellent Quebec breweries with a flair for Belgian styles. And ANBL went all out, listing four of their beers.
Of particular interest to me was, as I mentioned, the saison, since they seem to be so hard to come by, but seem to have a great affinity for all kinds of food. The story of saison goes something like: a beer brewed in the colder months that farmers could drink while they worked on the farm in the warmer months and in harvest season; they wanted something light and drinkable they could have after (or during) a hard day’s work. Saison du Tracteur is a bit of an updated take on a classic saison, incorporating big American fruity elements with the classic drinkability of the Belgian farmhouse style. It pours a golden orange cloud with a pretty big wheaty head before it settles down. But it smells fantastic – a lot of orange zest up front, followed by strong notes of passionfruit. And the taste comes off big on passionfruit and granadilla (worth a try if you want a different fruit for lunch), before cutting off with a crisp hoppy bitterness. A great beer for a day on the farm, folks, or any other occasion that might get you out in the sun, which looks like it may finally stick around for what’s left of spring.
It’s hard to know if this beer will stick around, or even if it’s even still available at ANBL now (I checked, there are a few bottles of this left, as well as some other Trou du Diable beers scattered around the province). Either way, it’s high time we had some saisons for the spring/summer saisons here in NB.
But let me know in the comments: what’s your favourite saison? What other beer styles are we lacking here in the Maritimes, or wherever you’re from?