“The Bière De Garde fits beautifully into Trinity’s history of producing so many of the more non-traditional styles, and introducing them into an IPA dominated market,” says owner of TRiNiTY Brewing Company, Matt Dettmann, “We love IPA’s, and they do dominate, but the occasional injection of Farmhouse styles has long been a privilege for our small brewery.”
Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs, Colorado does produce several IPAs, but the team also makes it a point to have farmhouse styles available at all times including saisons, wild ales, and their well-known Bière De Garde, Mad Ear.
It’s easy for Dettmann to see the obstacle to customer trying out unknown styles for the first time. “There is a cost issue. Investing $10-$14 for a style you’ve never tasted is a risky endeavor vs a trusted IPA,” he says.
Just making quality examples of lesser-known styles isn’t enough for Dettmann, he wants to help his customers understand them, and eventually order them. “Popularity in beer or styles is often encouraged simply by exposure and discussion. Taking unsolicited samples to our customers is our way of opening doors to new flavors and styles.”
Those unsolicited samples often lead to more exploration and curiosity from his customers. “Once we get a beer drinker to try a new style, we often find the door open to many others.”
Brewing Inspired Farmhouse Ales in Colorado
Dettmann says the farmhouse beers at Trinity are inspired by, “Remote land owners and farmers who utilized their limited resources to create the most unique funky flavor profiles during all seasons of the year.” He adds, “Attempting to re-create a part of that is definitely a thrilling challenge today.”
That challenge was first taken on by Trinity’s founding brewer Jason Yester and is continued today by the current head brewer Jon Taylor.
“Our philosophy is to always be tweaking, always refining, always perfecting. When our brew team sits down to discuss ideas, it usually doesn’t take long for the creativity to take over. Refining that creativity is a true pleasure.”
That creativity is seen in the malt bill of Mad Ear which features both oats and rye for a fuller texture and flavor complexity.
What does Trinity Mad Ear Taste Like?
Dettmann notes, “The ingredients in Mad Ear are traditional balanced grains, and the variable is the yeast profile and flavors imparted through that combination.”
I found Mad Ear to have some toasty pie crust flavors with hints of peppery saison yeast and lemon peel esters popping though. After the initial sip the finish is dried herbs and a touch of warming alcohol (8.1% abv!). The carbonation was peppy and zippy which combined with the dry palate to make for a great companion to cheese!
The rye is also a subtle addition for added complexity, “Rye is a wonderful grain for many beer styles. Rye can impart color additions, head, and some subtle graininess. Personally, it is the slight spiciness of rye that is so interesting,” says Dettmann.
If you’re trying Bière De Garde as an IPA drinker…
“Mad Ear to a hazy drinker could easily be loved or easily rejected. Mad Ear has a distinct and confident aroma and flavor throughout. It is unmistakable as a farmhouse,” say Dettmann.
He adds that he would necessarily focus on turning an IPA drinker onto a Bière De Garde specifically, but instead growing their exposure to any farmhouse style.
“I would bring that customer as many samples as it took to begin to judge between the various saisons or Bière De Gardes. The palate of each individual is so diverse yet so specific I would not be surprised if someone immediately converted to a fan of either. For me, I’d probably go with a saison with a powerful yeast profile and a lot of adjuncts and creativity. Tell the story of the beer, the history, and you’ve got someone who will more than likely be intrigued to try it again and again,” says Dettmann.