Transatlantic Tripel

East meets West in The Bruery’s summer-time ale brewed with Thai basil and Belgian yeast. //Photo: Jason Ruiz

For centuries, sailors relied on prevailing winds to develop trade routes and transport goods across vast oceans. And, since 2008, The Bruery’s Trade Winds has been a summer ale so dependable that its kept Orange County craft brew fanatics circulating through their tasting room.


This Belgian-style tripel, like many of The Bruery’s ales, is uniquely brewed. Playing off its trade-route inspired name, it combines elements of both east and west. Or as the label states, “Spice from the East, yeast from the West”. Rice was used in place of sugar in the brewing process to help create a lighter body but increase the gravity of the ale. The spice of the beer, which lends it much of its sweet aroma ,is a product of the Thai basil. The addition of the Belgian yeast resulted in the tasty, golden ale they called Trade Winds.


The OC is home to finely-brewed ales, not just bad reality television shows. //Photo: Jason Ruiz

Like the ingredients in the beer, Trade Winds’ taste is very complex. It contains all the expected fruity, bitter-sweet flavors of a Belgian tripel but is lent some diversity from the spiciness of the Thai basil. Despite the competing flavors, they blend nicely into what is a very enjoyable and drinkable ale. The strength of the beer is even mellowed enough to hide the fact that this deceptively smooth Belgian packs a potent punch at 8.1 percent alcohol. The one draw back, albeit a minor one, is that Trade Winds is a little on the carbonated side. But, the pros still mightily outweigh the cons of this ale.


“Summer fun” is rightfully displayed on the label of the bottle as this is a perfect beer to enjoy during the dog days of heat waves. Light enough to quench your thirst and strong enough to satisfy drinkers more accustomed to strong ales, Trade Winds should be an addition to everyone’s fridge this summer. Pick up a bottle (around $10 per bottle) or if you’re fortunate enough, stop by The Bruery’s newly expanded tasting room. Cheers! (Choc-tee! For any Thai people reading this).


~ by J. Ruiz on July 3, 2012.

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