Beer: Mad Ear
Brewery: Trinity Brewing Co. (Colorado Springs, CO)
Style: Farmhouse Ale – Bière de Garde
8.1% ABV / N/A IBU
Think of the Bière de Garde as the yin to the Saison’s yang. Both are considered “farmhouse ales,” due to their origins as ale-type beers brewed in actual farmhouses. The saison has come to be known as a Spring/Summer style – lighter-bodied, crisp and with a very dry finish. There isn’t often a lot of variation with saisons, save for how they are spiced, and that makes for a someone polarizing style. People either love ’em or hate ’em and there’s no room for fence-sitting.
The Bière de Garde, by contrast, is a top-fermented, malt-forward, higher ABV brew and even the range in coloration is pretty stark. Trinity’s delectable Mad Ear pours a copper hue, which is right in the middle of where Bière de Gardes typically land, halfway between the coloration of a golden ale and the character of a brown ale. And although Trinity’s Mad Ear is an unfiltered brew and a little sediment is to be expected, the way light passes through when it’s poured into a glass is super-cool, as is the creamy swirl on top of the beer and the lacing produced by the carbonation.
Unfortunately for Mad Ear, malt-forward styles are currently considered somewhat outré. This is where the old ways are truly the best ways, because the European tradition of mid-range ale styles like the Belgian strong ale, the dark ale and the Bière de Garde still hasn’t taken flight across the Atlantic. If Daft Punk can make it here, why can’t they? Trinity’s Mad Ear is an exceptional rendition of that style. The malt clings to the front of your palette and features strong caramel notes that evoke a Stroopwaffel cookie. But truly the best part is the high level of carbonation and uniquely effervescent sensation it creates. As the beer settles, that carbonation dissipates and gives way to an Earthier kind of experience. That’s OK, but this beer is built for harsher weather and meant to be consumed cold.
For more info, check out Trinity Brewing here.