Beer review #1: La Trou du Diable – Saison du Tracteur

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.

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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.

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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?

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