Wednesday, July 28, 2010

393. St. Feuillien/Green Flash Bière de L’Amitié

Ah, the collabo. Seems like everyone is doing it nowadays. Which is a good thing—spread that beer knowledge and share that beer experience. And with Green Flash willing to head east and cross the pond to Belgium to visit St. Feuillien, the world just got a whole lot more interesting. Because while the domestic collabo is good, the international collabo is all things to all people. And yes, you can quote me on that. We’ve previously tried beer from both breweries: from St. Feuillien we’ve tried the Saison and the Belgian Abbey Ale, while with Green Flash we’ve had Hop Head Red Ale.

Bière de L’Amitié pours a lightly hazy bright gold—we can see through it, but there is some slight cloudiness. The head is white and mousse-y, and laces the glass rather well. The nose has bubblegum (Bazooka Joe, to be specific) and creaminess, along with spicy phenols that are lightly clove-like and spicy. Which is just a fancy way of saying that it smells very Belgian. Bière de L’Amitié starts slightly sweet in a candy-like way with some juicy flavor coupled with fruity esters and spicy phenol flavors across the back of the tongue. The middle dries out on the palate, and has a fair amount of bitterness, especially in relation to the drop in sweetness. There is a slight touch of alcohol warmth in the turn to the finish that sits on the tongue, further drying out the beer on the palate, although the beer does finish a slight creaminess in both the flavor and mouthfeel. As well, there is a bit of lingering dryness and bitterness on the tongue after the creamy finish passes, leaving a pleasant and lightly fruity taste. The carbonation is bright and effervescent, helping to dry out the beer, while the body is pretty light—while there is some alcohol warmth, the body is far lighter than your normal 9.5% ABV beer. In fact, while the label refers to this as a “blond Belgian collaboration ale,” it does have some saison characteristics to it, specifically with the dry body and mouthfeel coupled with some of the aromatics. The complexity and nuance of this beer made for a great drinking experience—Bière de L’Amitié is a study in subtlety and enjoyment. I wish we could find some more of this so that we could both enjoy more of it in the short run, and throw a couple of bottles in the basement to see how it ages. It should go without saying (although I’m still gonna say it) that this beer is a Top 10 best contender for the year. So delicious.

From the bottle: “St. Feuillien’s centuries old brewing traditions combine with Green Flash Brewing Company’s cutting edge brewing techniques to form our first collaboration brew: Bière de L’Amitié (Friendship Brew). A blond Belgian collaboration ale, brewed with St. Feuillien’s traditional yeast and spices. For a modern twist, we add rye malt, wheat malt, and American Amarillo hops. At the crossroads of collaboration, we dry-hopped the brew for more zest. It’s old-world Belgian Abbey-style meets new-world American craft brewing—and a friendship is formed.”

From the Green Flash website: “During a recent twelve day Great Belgium Beer Tour, brewer’s from Green Flash Brewing Co. of San Diego County, California and Brasserie St. Feuillien of Le Roeulx, Belgium teamed up to produce the first-ever collaboration ale between American and Belgian family-owned breweries. The beer will be called Bière De L’Amitié, or Friendship Brew, and will be released in the United States in June 2010.”

ABV: 9.5%
Brew Date: March 9, 2010


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