It almost feels like cheating to call this a French beer, since Agent Provocateur is brewed by a Scotsman. Craig Allan studied the science of brewing and distilling in Edinburgh, and after a decade of brewing for Scottish microbreweries, as well as working in the whisky trade and on Burgundian vineyards, he struck out on his own to brew fine craft beers in France. It may seem like a strange choice of locale, but his aim is to prove that good microbrew has all the merit of fine wine. If he can win over the French, mission accomplished! Besides, he’s got the Auld Alliance (which has been in effect since the 13th century, and until the early 20th century gave all Scots French citizenship) to back him up.
History aside, this is a fantastic beer. Nick’s family visited us for a week and a half in September, and his brother Casey is quite the beer enthusiast. (This is putting it mildly – his beer bottle collection could fill a small museum.) Nick directed him to a couple of our favorite beer stores, namely La Cave à Bulles, near the Centre Pompidou, and Terres de Bières in the Marché St. Quentin. He came home a few days in a row with a selection of beers to try (and, if possible, bring home for the bottle collection). One of said beers was Agent Provocateur, which was recommended as hoppier than most.
We poured it into three glasses and noted the pillowy, cream-colored head over a hazy, dark-golden liquid. The aroma was quite hoppy, with fruity hints of grapefruit. On the palate, it exhibited strong hop bitterness balanced with a very lightly sweet malt background and flavors of fresh-cut grass.
“This is the first good beer I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Casey declared. I found it incredibly refreshing, and hands-down the most West Coast American IPA-style beer I’ve had in France. That’s a good thing.
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Just a quick reminder, if you haven’t already, to enter to win a $75 gift certificate to CSN stores! I’ll be choosing a winner at random from the comments tomorrow, Sunday October 10th, at noon Paris time. The announcement will follow shortly thereafter.
On this day in 2009: Kir Bourgignon
Originally published on Croque-Camille.