Worthwhile French Beers: La Caussenarde

14 11 2010

La Caussenarde Blonde, Brune, and Ambrée

Several weeks ago, I joined my friends Ann and Chris at the Aveyron fair in Paris. Right off the bat we stuffed ourselves with local specialties like aligot and farçou, and then decided to walk it off by exploring the rest of the fair.  We sound some excellent cheeses and sweet breads (not sweetbreads), and suddenly, as we were strolling along, I stopped and cried out, “beer!”  You see, among the other gustatory delights, there was a stand selling craft beers made in Aveyron, by a brewery called La Caussenarde.  So I bought one of each of their offerings: the blonde, the ambrée, and the brune.

Finally, Nick and I got around to tasting them last weekend.  Beer drinking becomes less of a leisure activity when there’s documentation involved.  But last Sunday we decided to sit down and taste these three, and it was much less of a chore than it initially seemed.

The Blonde poured out hazy, as much due to its nature as an unfiltered beer as to carelessness in pouring.  The beer was very fizzy, with a thin, quickly dissipating head.  Color-wise, it was darker than most blondes, edging into honey tones.  I was immediately taken by the fruity, floral hop aromas, reminiscent of honeysuckle and clover.  These flavors came through on the palate as well, with a sweetish, almost honey-like body, followed by a nice dry finish.  Sounding surprised, Nick declared, “Actually, I really like it.”

Moving on to the Ambrée, it too was really fizzy – almost the way a soda pop is.  This beer was unfiltered as well, but since it was poured more carefully, our glasses remained clear enough to show the lovely true amber color of the liquid.  It had a warm spicy smell, almost like French pain d’épices, with ginger, nutmeg, and anise notes prevailing.  Again, it tasted like it smelled, with a clean finish.

Finally, the Brune.  It poured out a pretty, clear brown color and with the effervescence now characteristic of La Caussenarde.  The nose had surprising sour notes mingling with the otherwise sweet and roasty aromas.  Like the Ambrée, this one had warm spices too, but different ones: cinnamon and clove were in the forefront here.  On the palate, there were few surprises, an unusual sourness balanced with plenty of sweet roasted malt flavors and gentle spices.

All of these beers tasted well-balanced and carefully crafted.  I would absolutely buy all three of them again, but if I had to pick a favorite, it’s probably the Blonde.  They do have more fun after all, right?

Originally published on Croque-Camille.








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