Monday, July 24, 2017

Gone With The Trade Winds Tripel

The Bruery retired its Trade Winds tripel last year.  I looked without success for a bon voyage bottle
after I heard the news.  It took me more than a year to find a bottle.  Trade Winds was one of The Bruery's first seasonal beers, and was brewed with rice and Thai Basil.  I have not had this beer for years, but I remember not tasting much of the Thai Basil.  This time, the herb aroma leapt from the bottle and tulip glass, but as I remembered, it added little to the flavor.  Trade Winds poured a dark orange, a color intensified by the beer's opaqueness and its striking white foam.  The finish had a touch of bitterness, but you are not drinking Trade Winds for its hops.  Sugar and yeast are Trade Winds' two main flavor points.  Sweasty. 

I found Trade Winds cloying to a level of distraction.  I have not had a beer this sweet in a long time, and I found it unpleasant.  I felt it needed some dryness, or additional bitterness, or something to serve as a counterweight to the syrup, but palate relief never arrived.  The beer's nonexistent 8.6% abv provided no refuge.  You could smell the yeast together with the basil, but the yeast's esters seemed to enhance Trade Wind's high saccharine level. 

This may sound strange, but I recommend picking up a bottle of Trade Winds if you can find one.  Buy it for nostalgia's sake if nothing else, because The Bruery is no longer brewing it and it is a small piece of craft beer history.  I'm sure it ages well, but I suspect time will only make it sweeter as the yeast continues to work.  Serve it in small doses as an after dinner digestive. 

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