After a year living with the oft-awkwardly balanced, questionably designed beers in Poland, it’s nice to come back to N. America where I feel a lot safer every time I purchase a beer off the shelf. At times, I feel like I have better odds playing the lottery than randomly selecting a well-made Polish brew. That might seem super harsh, but then I remembered that time a brewery pushed their unabashedly-infected “barrel-aged stout” into the market by also labelling it as “wild”. I reviewed that beer here, and in hindsight that was a lot more positive a review than it should have garnered. It’s not my intention to be super-harsh of brewers; I’d much rather write (and taste!) great beer. But when something is truly bad, I don’t think it advances beer-knowledge to pour it down the sink and never speak it again.
Anyway, that’s a long preamble to what’s ultimately a short review of Le Trou Du Diable’s La Saison du Tracteur, which – if you hadn’t guessed – is a saison. The bottle was pretty over-carbed as evidenced by the now highly-sticky counter tops in my parents kitchen. There’s a head that rivals a home-brewers first bottling, but it fades pretty quickly. Despite that, this beer turns into a rather pleasant example of saisons. A great use of yeast that brings forth some of those classic bubble-gummy Belgian notes, complementing the grassy/lemon character of most saisons. As it warms, you also get a little juiciness of peach/passionfruit which I’m not sure was a necessary addition, but hey – people want tropicality in their beers now so we might as well add it.
What I think makes this beer remarkable is how incredibly spiced this beer is. As soon as you start sipping this beer, you’re tempted to write a strongly-worded series of tweets to the brewer about how much of an asshole for his abusive use of spice. But miraculously, you guzzle down a few ounces, and this doesn’t leave you with the tannin dry-mouth of an overly aggressive Malbec. There’s still a very distinct minerality on the finish, but your teeth don’t feel like they’ve been run at with sandpaper, and I chalk that up as a win.