Should you be looking for a little lagniappe, one brewery in the Deep South may have just what you need. At least, that’s what implied on the label of Bière Joi, a beer produced by Bayou Teche Brewing Co. of Arnaudville, La.
A springtime release, Bière Joi is a coffee ale that first appeared on the market in 2012. It’s created using a grain bill the brewery says resembles a Belgian dubbel, presumably fermented with an alternate yeast strain, which is then aged in oak barrels with a “little something extra” in the form of cacao nibs, coffee beans and chile de árbols.
Now, I say presumably with respect to the yeast, because I don’t really get a lot of “dubbel” in Bière Joi, due to the fact that I don’t perceive any of the raisiny dark fruit that’s typical of the style. What I do get, though, is a brew that’s fairly rich in coffee and chocolate flavors, with earthy undertones and a hint of sweetness.
As for the chili peppers, they add a touch of spice to the aroma and a bit of a burn on the back-end, but it’s not nearly enough to draw your attention away from the baseline flavors of the beer. That’s especially true in the finish, which stays smooth as it lingers with elements of chocolate and roasted malt.
Bière Joi’s best attribute, however, may be its drinkability. The mildness of the peppers, and the fact that the beer is only moderate in strength are surely contributing factors, but it’s the body of the beer that really brings it all together. It’s creamy and full, but not at all heavy, thanks to carbonation that’s present without being prickly. This allows you to focus on the taste experience of Bière Joi, which offers a fair amount of complexity in a very approachable beer.