Tuesday, January 3, 2012

507. Brasserie Lebbe L’Amalthée

After the last saison debacle, we decided to kick it old school when we found a bottle of Brasserie Lebbe’s L’Amalthée on the shelves. Brasserie Lebbe is located on a self-sustaining goat farm owned by Pierre Lebbe in Villefranque, France in the Southern Haute-Pyrenees region; L’Amalthée is the only beer they produce. Lebbe is originally from Belgium, and, with the exception of the yeast and hops, his beer is brewed with ingredients grown on his farm and hand bottled. Think he’d take on a summer intern?

L’Amalthée pours a hazy golden straw with a white mousse-like head that hangs around, re-rousing easily; the nose is spicy and fruity, with a juicy component that increases as the beer warms. The spiciness is also both earthy and loamy, reminiscent of the “rustic” components fitting the classic examples of the style, and there is some candy sweetness accompanying the earthy bitterness. Flavors start candy sweet but dry—the residual sweetness is in the flavor, not in the body—leading to the clean, spicy bitterness in the middle. Candy comes back in the finish, combining with the spicy, earthy bitterness and the juiciness, to create a delicate mélange of flavors that conclude with a clean bitterness. The body is dry and bitter, while the carbonation is bright but gentle and creamy. You do get a bit of chewiness in the mouthfeel as the beer warms, but the emphasis is still on the dryness. L’Amalthée is a delicious old-world example of a saison—rustic and complex, but light and drinkable at the same time. The spicy hop character is especially pleasant and refreshing—this is not quite Dupont, not quite Belgian, but certainly delicious. And well worth trying if you can find it.

Good luck finding a website; the only real information I could find online is the Charles Neal page quoted above; everything else (including Beer Advocate) pretty much pulls their information from his website.

ABV: 6.0%


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