Beer: Trade Winds
Brewery: The Bruery
Style: Tripel (with Thai Basil and Rice)
Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Tulip-like glass
Drinking Establishment: New Brunswick
Primary Consumer(s): Kerensa
Sight: Cloudy dark honey body with lemon hue at edges. There is visible active fermentation at the bottom of the glass (so many little bubbles bubbling upwards!). Pours a 5-inch, spongy, velvety off-white head that forms into various sculptural shapes. An erupting caldera was seen in one glass; another, an octopus. Head settles to a shiny, bubbly one-inch froth after a few minutes.
Scent: Grapefruit on the forefront. Banana phenols in the middle. Residual grass smell, presumably from the inclusion of Thai basil.
Flavor: This has a very funky taste. Almost like a Belgian Sour Ale or Gueuze. There is an overall sweetness, which is likely derived from the rice. There is very little hop presence/bitterness.
Feel: Bubbly, aggressive carbonation on tongue. Medium mouthfeel.
Living up to its name, The Bruery’s Trade Winds has a very summery, tropical taste; drinking it reminds me of lying down in freshly-cut grass, on an island. This beer is not lacking flavor–perhaps there’s even a little bit too much going on.
Concluding remarks: Why, really, would one put Thai basil and rice into a Belgian-style beer? I mean, sure, there have been nights when I have consumed Thai basil over rice alongside a Belgian ale. But, in general, I prefer to keep my main course and beer separate. And while I do admit I was initially hoping for an identifiable basil flavor (out of morbid curiosity!), I was reminded of this: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/16836/41127–and then was wildly relieved that the basil was nowhere to be found in this brew.
Regardless, it is a pretty unique take on a Belgian Tripel. While I would not recommend picking this up over a traditional Tripel, if you are all traditional-Tripeled-out after a night of traditional Tripels, sure, give this guy a chance.
Also, unlike other Tripels, this should be enjoyed at a colder temperature (learn from my mistake).