I just finished writing up a review for this beer, and then decided to look at the Sevenpack site under Duyck. I should have done those two things in reverse order. Anyway, not to let a review go to waste, I posted my thoughts below Ben’s original thoughts from nearly two years ago. In summary, though I experienced some slightly different tastes, I believe Ben’s review is spot on.
Original Post by Ben 6-9-2007:
This, our 3rd instalment from the nice folks at Beer of the Month Club, is another offering from the French brewery, Brasserie de Duyck. As Matt so kindly elucidated yesterday, the French aren’t generally known for their quality beers. However, after living in France for about a year myself, I did find that there were a few gems hidden on the shelves. One of those gems was the Jenlain blonde that Matty review yesterday. Most of the others I have since forgotten the names of, although I remember a stork (or maybe it was a duck) being the mascot for another – if you remember what brewery that is, please let me know. But, back to the point – This particular beer is one that I never found during my time in France and one that, frankly, I’ve never heard of. However, I am a bit intrigued by the idea of a French Abbey Ale. Having tasted many abbey ales from France’s neighbour to the Northeast, I have a certain idea of what to expect. However, my impression of the French version is that, if their work with other styles is to be mimicked, then we can expect something a bit lighter and a bit subtler than what the Belgians have thus far given us.
The pour of this beer is the first indication that it’s very different from a typical Belgian abbey ale. It pours a remarkably clear and light golden color with a nearly non-existent head. The aroma smells grainy with a hint of lemon and a light sourness that is reminiscent of a french farmhouse variety, but lighter. Now, for the tasting. The first sensation this beer presents us with is a touch of citrus on the tip of the tongue. This citrus quickly moves into a flavor that is rife with light malts and a refreshingly sour flavor that is, again, reminiscent of a saison or farmhouse ale. Towards the back of the mouth, I recognize a unique yeast flavor that reminds me of what I expect from a German hefeweizen. To be sure, it’s an interesting amalgamation of flavors in a single beer. It’s quite subtle in its presentation, but it’s as though someone blended a blonde ale and a saison ale, and then fermented with yeast from the last batch of hefeweizen. What it all amounts to is a rather summery beer that is refreshing and thirst quenching, and leaves a solid aftertaste on the palate. In fact, I really enjoy this beer, despite some skepticism I felt from its initial light appearance. Well done, Duyck – I think I’ll have another…
Dave’s Update 6-13-2009:
When most people think about French ‘things’, they think the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, French bread. Not me. I think Téléfrançais. Téléfrançais was a french educational TV show, actually produced in Canada, shown to us back in elementary school to help us learn French. Along with its catchy theme song, it had the memorable (and some what creepy looking) character called Ananas, which was a talking pineapple (ananas is french for pineapple). Every so often I will remark in a grocery store “Un ananas!” to the befuddlement of people around me. Though every so often, I get the response “Où est un ananas?” and we start singing the Téléfrançais theme song together (that has never actually happened). Could this beer by French brewery Jenlain supplant those Téléfrançais memories and reign supreme over a French talking pineapple?
The beer poured a clear golden with a smooth white head into the tulip glass. Yeast and light-grain and hay notes were emanating from the beer. Not overly strong but pleasant and noticeable. In the mouth the beer runs quick and is light in presence. Compared to the beer’s nose, its taste is not what I was expecting. There is a light banana sweetness to start the beer off, with a slight carbonation tingle on the front of the tongue. In the middle the beer shows off a grassy-hay note with hints of grain and even some green grape, for good measure. The finish is strong yeast, mixed with wheat (reminds me of a wit beer) and the occasional kick of coriander.
Quite refreshing, and unique in flavor. Could be a nice change from the wit beer style during the summer months. Does it replace Ananas? Not so much, but I’ll admit that is a nearly impossible endeavor. Its a French talking pineapple!