Wednesday, September 2, 2009

64. Fantôme Biére de Saison Pissenlit

Fantôme Brewery is in Soy, ­­­­­Belgium. It is a craft brewery located in the Wallonia/Ardennes region of Belgium, the same area in which saisons and farmhouse ales were originally developed. Dany Prignon, owner and brewer, has been operating the brewery since 1988. And today’s obscure factoid: much of Fantôme’s original equipment “was obtained from the original brewhouse of the Brasserie d’Achouffe” (Thanks, Wikipedia!).

Pissenlit is a creamy, opaque tan with smooth carbonation and a negligible head. It has a candy nose with tart and spicy notes. Beginning with candy sweet flavor and slight sour notes that build toward a tart middle, Pissenlit finishes crisp with tart citrus notes and some slight spicy bitterness—there is clean closure with no real lingering flavor. While some of the tart candy flavors increase with warmth, the spicy and estery characteristics still shine through. Fantôme has produced an enjoyable and drinkable beer; it is a Top 10 Best candidate via the complex flavors and enjoyable nuance created with this beer.

From the Shelton Brothers Importers website: “Dany, the offbeat brewer at Fantôme, will try anything, and the results are always interesting. A beer made from dandelions would be worth a try if only because no one has ever brewed one before, but the great news is that this is actually a very good beer. Dany and some cohorts get busy every spring picking bushels of dandelions that grow in the fields around the picturesque farmhouse brewery. The yellow flowers are removed and dried in the sun, then soaked in water for a few days. The thick, dark dandelion ‘tea’ that results is the basis for the Pissenlit, which is made also from traditional barley malt and hops. It resembles a classic saison beer – golden spritzy brew, strong and very flavorful, with a good hop bite. You may have to strain to taste the dandelions, but you know they’re in there. “Pissenlit” is the French word for dandelion. Literally, it means ‘pee in bed,’ which we guess describes the physical effect the flower has on French-speaking persons. We are happy to report, however, that we haven’t had any problems with incontinence after downing a bottle of this beer.”

ABV: 8.0%


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