You know you’re living in the Golden Age of American Craft Beer when you forget that many of the beer styles that we’ve grown to love were created somewhere else. Whether it’s the IPA which originated in England or the Berliner Weisse which originated in Germany or even the Saison which originated in Belgium, American Craft Brewers have gotten so good at creating and reinterpreting these classic styles that there’s rarely a need to pick up up a bottle of beer that wasn’t made in the Good Old US of A. That being said, back stories are important (if you doubt me, just look at Hollywood! They LOVE origin stories, especially when it involves some sort of superhero), so every so often it’s good to go back to see where a particular beer style got it’s start.
For today’s post, Limpd and I will be reviewing a Belgian Blonde Ale from Brasserie St. Feuillien. Just so you know, we received two bottles of this beer from their US importer, Artisanal Imports of Austin, TX, and reviewed them independently, i.e. I tried it two weeks ago at The Murder Table and Limpd tried it this past Monday night at The Barthenon. You’ll understand why I’m telling you this when you get to the end of this post.
Before we get to our reviews of this Belgian beer, here’s what the folks at Belgium’s St. Feuillien have to say about their Blonde Ale:
This light ale has a deep golden colour with a smooth, frothy head. It is very perfumed with an unmistakable hint of aromatic hops and a fruity (citrus) note from the spices used in production. The body has an intense yet distinctive bitterness and a strong malty taste which is a delight to the palate. The overall effect, however, is a slight dryness and hoppiness. All these features make St-Feuillien Blonde an excellent and very drinkable beer.
And now for our impressions of this Belgian Blonde Ale…
- Appearance: Pale orange color. Somewhat cloudy with a thick fluffy head that tops off at around 2 inches and then subsides slowly.
- ABV: 7.5%
- Limpd: A lot of clove, some honeysuckle and other floral notes, a good bit of citrus zest and some yeast.
- G-LO: Orange marmalade, lemon zest, doughy yeast, clove, and a smattering of honey.
- Limpd: Not at all like I expected. From the aroma, I was expecting something on the Saison side but this was decidedly different. Multi-layered with a lot of carbonation and a nice blend of sweetness, citrus (oranges, tangerines) and clove. It is dry without being tart and the finish is long, dry and flavorful.
- G-LO: Very fizzy with a somewhat champagney mouthfeel. Also quite dry at the start like a champagne. Candied orange peel, yeast, clove, and a touch of citrus come through from start to finish with just a bit more dryness lingering in the aftertaste.
- Limpd: Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed this one. I have had more than my fair share of Belgian (or Belgian-esque) beers, but I guess I just haven’t had enough good ones. That being said, St. Feuillien is one very well made beer. I had this as a night cap this past Monday so that I could make G-LO’s editorial deadline (that taskmaster ALMOST takes the fun out of drinking). I kind of wish I had broken out the grapes, prosciutto and Cooper Sharp for this one.
- G-LO: It’s been awhile since I’ve had a Belgian Blond Ale. I forgot how good they can be. This particular beer from St. Feuillien falls somewhere between a Belgian Wit and a Farmhouse Ale thanks to the clove and spice of the former balanced with the mild funk and astringency of the latter. As far as food pairings go, this beer screams to be paired with a meat and cheese plate. Me likey!
Many thanks to Artisanal Imports for sending us these very generous samples!