FIRST DRAUGHT — Saison du Tracteur harvests rich medley of rye, barley, wheat

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July 12 marks the final session of beers for this year’s Coast to Coaster event at Manitoba Liquor Marts. In this final batch, Half Pints is releasing a beer in a can for the first time in their 12-year history (Codename: Ghost New England IPA), while we see some old Coast to Coaster breweries making an appearance again this year, including PEI’s Gahan Brewing and New Brunswick’s Picaroons Brewing.

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/07/2018 (1541 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

July 12 marks the final session of beers for this year’s Coast to Coaster event at Manitoba Liquor Marts. In this final batch, Half Pints is releasing a beer in a can for the first time in their 12-year history (Codename: Ghost New England IPA), while we see some old Coast to Coaster breweries making an appearance again this year, including PEI’s Gahan Brewing and New Brunswick’s Picaroons Brewing.

This year’s edition of Coast to Coaster showcased more of what was the emerging styles in the Canadian brewing industry more than anything. This year featured several New England IPAs, Milkshake IPAs and Sour Ales, all styles that would have made a beer drinker in Westman confused a few years ago. This year’s Coast to Coaster may have featured the best lineup I’ve seen yet. I feel that Flying Monkeys’ sweet and tropical Live Transmission Milkshake was pure desserty heaven, and I’m likely the one who bought the entire city’s supply of the beer without realizing it.

There’s another beer I ended up buying a good amount of when it was available in Brandon — Shawinigan, Quebec’s Le Trou du Diable’s Saison du Tracteur, a Belgian-style Farmer’s Strong Ale brewed with barley, rye and wheat that’s absolutely plentiful on a sunny Prairie afternoon.

Saison du Tracteur was available here in Manitoba back in spring last year, so it’s not a beer that’s new to Manitoba at all. Unfortunately since the Saison du Tracteur came out last year, Molson Coors purchased Trou du Diable, I was absolutely devastated when it happened but I was also excited to see more of their beers available in Manitoba, more consistently — but that has yet to surface.

Saison du Tracteur tops up at 6.0 per cent ABV and is described as combining the ingenuity of the New World and the rustic character of the Old Continent. So from this description I expect this to have a bubble gum and yeasty profile with a bit of sourness to it, a bit of mixed grain flavours to give it a rich cereal and grainy profile to it.

The appearance is a clear golden straw with a bit of a micro-carbonation in the body, and a thick frothy snow white head on top.

The aroma of the saison has a rich alfalfa aroma to it, it’s quite bitter, citrusy with lemon, notes of coriander, a hint of sourness, a light amount of bitterness from rye malt and a bit of a Belgian wheat beer graininess that’s mildly similar to a Blanche de Chambly or Shocktop style of ale, without the overpowering perfume notes.

The flavour of the Saison du Tracteur starts off immediately with the notes of rye, giving it a caramelly yet roasted bitter presence to it. There’s a moderate amount of sourness and lemon that I’m used to coming from the typical American-style Saison, yet it still has lots of the Belgian-style Saison notes to it. It has a rich, gritty wheat presence with a bit of coriander to it, as well as a light amount of peppercorn spice to it. The beer is dry but gives off a bit of a lingering sweetness that I can only compare to a Deus Brut des Flandres, a Belgian Champagne-style ale both myself and Diane from Vine Lines absolutely raved about when it was available in Manitoba many years ago.

I compared my tasting notes of this beer from 2014 to now and I have to say that this beer has changed very little over time and is a good example of one of my favourite beer styles. The beer has a rich medley of rye, barley and wheat that gives it off a flavourful yet citrusy blonde ale that pairs well with this hot and humid weather … even though I think I’ve said that for just about every review lately.

I found that as the beer warms up a bit, the yeast comes alive, giving it a rich, sweet, Champagney flavour with a mild bitter hoppy profile to it that dances on the palate for quite a while. Sure, this is a Molson Coors product now days, but they haven’t screwed around with the recipes or the branding as far as I’ve seen so far.

I do hope to see Trou du Diable products available more regularly in Manitoba one of these days, but only as long as it doesn’t take away shelf space from one of the 1,000 or more breweries owned by Canadians in this country.

La Saison du Tracteur is available in Liquor Marts in Brandon for $7.46 per 600-ml bottle.

» Cody Lobreau is a Canadian beer blogger who reviews every beer he can get his hands on as he believes that he should try every beer twice to get an understanding if it’s truly good or bad.

» BeerCrank.ca

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