Page 24, from Brasserie St. Germain, may very well be the best French beer I’ve tried so far.
Brewed in the Pas-de-Calais region in the North of France, using only regionally produced malt and hops, these beers are decidedly non-Belgian in character. Upon pouring the Réserve Hildegarde Blonde, Nick and I noted its deeper than usual color… it’s really more of a strawberry blonde. Nick was the first to take a sip, and afterwards he smiled, telling me, “You’re going to like this. A lot.” And he was right. The distinct hoppy aromas give way to a perfectly malt-balanced quaff that still managed to retain its hop notes. The only problem is that we only bought one bottle, and it was gone way too fast.
So naturally, we opened the Ambrée (another Réserve Hildegarde). Slightly darker in color than its sister, it tasted slightly less sweet, although the malt remained in balance. Rather than increasing the amount of malt in order to produce the color, the brewers just used a darker malt. Without the malty distractions of typical amber beers, the hops assert their presence, though not forcefully. While we didn’t like it quite as much as the Blonde, it’s still a very well-built beer.
“So we like this Page 24?” I asked.
“Considerably,” Nick replied.
We will be buying more of this beer, for sure. Glancing over their website (linked above), I am intrigued by the rhubarb beer, and very interested in making a pilgrimage to the brewery for a tour and a chance to sample the entire line. At 3 euros a pop, it sounds like a bargain to me!
Originally published on Croque-Camille.