Known the world over for their Bordeaux and Champagne offerings, say the word, “France” and images of wine will appear in your head. Did you know that they also make some tasty beers? Incroyable! Influenced by Belgian breweries on their borders, the French have quite a selection of unique brews. Here are four offerings we found while rummaging the halls at the world-famous Galco’s in Los Angeles, CA. [Rating notes: The French beers will be rated from 1-5 moustaches to honor them both.]
Words: Brad Roe
Images: Tim Schamber
Gavroche Red Ale
Named after a character in Victor Hugo’s 19th-century novel, Le Miserables, Gavroche Red Ale is produced by St. Sylvestre Brewery. Gavroche is a “strong, red beer in which the deep malt flavor and brisk hoppiness are very well balanced; and the whole is gracefully accentuated by fruity flavors derived from a special top-fermenting yeast.” Tasting notes: There’s a hint of honey and coffee. Gavroche is a sweet, smooth beer, with a strong alcohol taste and a silent finish. Rating: 4 moustaches.
Produced by the Brasserie Grain d’ Orge in Lille, Bezelbuth is a strong Belgian pale ale (13 percent). “This golden ale has a complex aroma, which almost defies description with fullness of flavors overcoming the warming sensation of alcohol. Perfect as an aperitif or with a sinful desserts,” says Grain d’Orge. Tasting notes: Fruity, Port-like. It doesn’t taste like a beer that’s 13-percent alcohol. Has a similar taste as the Gavroche Red, with some sweet pear and cider hints. You can taste the strength on the finish. Serve it cold and enjoy. Our favorite French beer by at least one moustache. Rating: 5 moustaches.
3 Monts Grand Réserve Amber Ale
Saint Sylvestre Cappel is a medieval village of 1,100 inhabitants and is known for its apple farms, ice-cream factory and St. Sylvestre Brewery. 3 Monts Grand Réserve Amber Ale is produced in the Bière de Garde (“Kept Beer”) style named for the practice of brewing it during the winter using the early malt and hops, then storing it through the summer for release later in the year. Tasting notes: Sweet and cidery with nice lace (whatever that is). We drank it cold and we drank it fast. Rating: 3 moustaches.
Recently acquired by Heineken, Brasserie Fischer is a more common beer in the Euro Lager style. Fischer also produces the spunky “Desperados,” a mild lager flavored with tequila. We stayed away from that offering. The Amber has an almost bland, everyday flavor. Tasting notes: The best part is the bottle. Mild beer with a simple finish. No punch or real flavor at all. We drank at close to room temperature and possibly too slowly. Next time we are going to chill and swill. Rating: 2.5 moustaches (think 2 moustaches, plus a soul patch).
From issue 5, which is sold out. If you have it, you’re golden!