I first encountered Bayou Teche Biere's alleged "crawfish" beer a couple of years ago at the Zapp's International Beerfest in Baton Rouge. At the time, I wasn't particularly impressed, but one of their reps stressed that it really isn't quite the same without the crawfish accompaniment.
Flash forward to last Good Friday, I was observing it as most South Louisiana Catholics do, with a huge crawfish boil at my parent's house. As I was on my way to help prep for the boil, I stopped by to pick up a sixer of something else besides the usual Miller Lite. I spotted the Saison D'Ecrevisses, and figured why not give it another go.
My beer tastes have certainly evolved in the last few years with regards to paler beers, and even wheat ales like Saisons. I didn't even like Canebrake that much when I first tried it, which seems crazy to me now. Besides, I would have some other family members around to confirm the whole "tastes better with crawfish" thesis anyway.
And I have to say, it was a pleasant surprise.
Brewing and tweaking five gallon test batches on the antiquated propane rig our brewery uses for weekend crawfish boils for inspiration, our brewmaster Gar Hatcher has crafted a biere to complement the spicy epitome of Cajun cuisine. Saison D'Écrevisses (Crawfish Season) is a Belgian-style Saison spiked with a generous amount of rye malt and then fermented with a distinctive Belgian yeast that gives this beer its dry and peppery finish. Finished with imported French Aramis hops, Saison D'Écrevisses has 24 IBUs and is 6% ABV. Our Saison D'Écrevisses is available in 22 oz. Belgian-style bottles and on draft only during Louisiana's traditional crawfish season (January to June).
I would note that it is now available in six packs now. I was able to find it at the new LeBlanc's Frais Marche on Drusilla in Baton Rouge.
The bouquet has the malty richness you'd expect from a typical farmhouse or other wheat-type ale, and pale in color. Starting without the crawfish, it has a very neutral flavor with just a little hint of a malty texture at the end. Not much to it. But such down a few crawfish heads and tales, and it's almost like the salt, or something in the spice seems to unlock another layer of malty sweetness in the middle. It really is a great compliment to crawfish. Just an uncanny pairing. Of course, the problem is that without the crawfish, it doesn't really do that much for me. I give it a 3.5 out of five stars, but I do recommend picking some up the next time you're heading out to a boil.