BEER REVIEW: LES BRASSEURS DU PETIT SAULT, Edmundston, New Brunswick : “PHEMIE – LA-BOOTLEGGER” Chocolate Porter

Les Brasseurs Du Petit Sault is the only brewery on the East Coast that was apart of the Pink Boots Collab Brew this year. It is also their fourth year partaking in this brew and this year they joined up with head brewer, Wendy Papadopoulos from Big Tide Brewing. The joint decision was to take one of their signature ales, the Phemie-la-Bootlegger and elevate it a notch for this brew.

LUNDY DALE

“PHEMIE – LA-BOOTLEGGER”

STYLE: Chocolate Porter

ABV: 5.3% IBU: 23 SRM: 31 OG: 12 Plato

A collaboration beer between Wendy Papadopoulos from Big Tide in Saint John and Petit Sault brewery in Edmundston, in French-speaking northwest New Brunswick, near the Quebec border.  Brewed by women, this porter was named after Edmundston’s infamous Phémie, a mother who supplemented her income by bootlegging. It pours dark brown, with a thin brown head that’s easy to rouse, but dissipates quickly. The nose is forward, with chocolate/mocha notes. The palate is clean, repeating the chocolate from the nose, with a hint of sweetness. It is smooth, easy drinking and medium bodied, with low bitterness and a dryish finish. It’s not complicated, but it is well made and tasty. As the label says, “…elle est tellement bonne que c’en est presque illegal.”

CRAIG PINHEY

There is a distinct chocolatey sweetness to the nose of this black porter, which an examination of the label reveals to have come from a combination of cacao and local maple syrup. And on a return sniff, the maple does indeed become apparent, although if you weren’t looking for it you might not notice.

In the body, however, the beer shows notably greater sweetness than it does in its more balanced aroma. Something like cocoa syrup greets the taster at the outset, with a moderately sugary mix of molasses and maple notes backed by weak coffee defining the mid-palate. Credit where credit is deserved, however, there is a nice, and frankly unexpected, drying and mild bittering on the finish. With slightly greater strength, I think this would suit me a lot more, but as it stands it seems overly sweet for its weight.

STEPHEN BEAUMONT

CRAIG PINHEY

One of the all-too-common sins in the beer world these days is the release of Brettanomyces-affected beers too early, since such brews require months to condition properly, without which they become simply odd-smelling ales. Magic Touch, I’m pleased to note, is not such a sinner, with a lovely complexity integrated into the aroma of this hazy golden beer: Imagine a perfumey bowl of slightly overripe fruit – mandarin oranges, peaches and pears – coupled with slightly musty wood and accents of hay and black pepper. On the palate, that aforementioned wood comes across a trifle too forcefully, but gets support and moderation from a mildly tart peach, apricot and orange fruitiness and considerable peppery spice, all of which starts lightly sweet and dries to a mildly bitter and yes, woody finish. I suspect that the strong wood notes are due to the youth of the foeder (large wooden tun) in which this has been conditioned, and that will ease as more brews make their way through the barrel, resulting in even better Magic Touches to come.

STEPHEN BEAUMONT