Grisette, The Smallest Farmhouse Cousin
Grisette is a style that we are seeing more and more of from North American Craft Brewers. It’s origins come from the small mining towns that dance along the French-Belgian borders. Grisette was a lower alcohol farmhouse ale that was brewed for miners consumption when water wasn’t safe to drink in its natural state.
Farmhouse is a broad category of beers loosely defined by beers being brewed out of necessity using ingredients from their own farms or close by. This humble choice of ingredients means that alternative grains like wheat and spelt are commonly found in Grisette as well as wild brettanomyces yeasts.
Grisette shares the title of Farmhouse ale with a more well known style called Saison. As both were meant to be refreshments for labourers the styles are characterized as light-medium bodied, citrusy, lightly tart and finish dry. Depending on what yeast is used to ferment the beer they could have a peppery saison yeast profile or an earthy, hay-like funk from wild indigenous brettanomyces yeasts. The main difference is that Grisette‘s are typically lower in alcohol, think sub-4% ABV.
Released in-store and online by Tatamagouche Brewing just yesterday Skiff is a 3.3% Grisette that checks all the boxes. It pours a cloudy, straw colour and has a dense, white head with decent retention for a low alcohol beer. On the nose it is beautifully floral with notes of honeysuckle and orange blossom. It’s got a tropical, lychee meets mango fruitiness you will love on a warm day. Hay-like earthy notes peek out behind the fruit showing brettanomyces was used in this lovely brew. Aside from the complex nose, the mouthfeel screams refreshment. It’s got a ultralight body that is enhanced by a light acidity and a sea of carbonation that coats your tongue every sip. It finishes extra dry with a soft, welcomed bitterness swooping in to cleanse your palate.
If the description didn’t tell you, I love this beer. This is the perfect daytime beverage that can be drank in session at 3.3% or paired with a beet and goat cheese salad. Tatamagouche Brewing is currently selling this online for delivery to your door and at their shop in Tatamagouche. Don’t sleep on Skiff!