Local Suds: E9 Brewing Petite Belle
In the search to offer something different, craft brewers sometimes turn to older forgotten styles. Enter E9 Brewing in Tacoma’s Historic Brewery District. Tacoma’s oldest craft brewery’s Petite Belle explores the obscure Franco-Belgian style, grisette, a type of farmhouse ale that dates back to the late 1700s or early 1800s in southern Belgium.
As with the saison, which originated as a beer made for farmhands, the grisette was seen as a beer intended to quench the thirst of miners. Grisettes are made with a combination of wheat and barley and are often fermented with saison yeast. Good grisettes are intended to be light with subtle character; so to appreciate them means you’ll need to accept a toned-down farmhouse ale. E9 Brewing Petite Belle fits that description well.
Petite Belle (5.2%) is brewed with pilsner malt, along with wheat and flaked oats that give it some body in what would otherwise be a very light beer. It’s fermented with a saison yeast, which offers phenolic yeast character and hints of peppery spiciness, yet everything is kept light and subtle.
“It’s a single strain saison yeast from East Coast Yeast,” says longtime E9 brewer Donovan Stewart. “Owner Al Buck made it especially for us. Shane [head brewer Shane Johns] has been working with him for years. He often does cool one-off blends for us.”
If you’re curious about historical beer recreations, Petite Belle delivers on that score. It’s light-bodied, clean, and sessionable with an exceedingly dry finish — meaning this rustic, grain bomb is damn easy to drink.
E9 Brewing Petite Belle awaits in the Peaks & Pints cooler.
LINK: E9 Brewing
LINK: Local Suds archive