Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bières suisses de la montagne

I could swear we've reviewed beers from the Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes before—I've certainly drunk several of them over the years, since I was first introduced to the brand in 2006—but I don't see any reference to them here. It's a shame that all I had in for this tasting was two of their lightest, most French-tasting bottles; there are some great real ales in their range as well. I'll have to look out for more of these next time I'm in Switzerland, and keep better notes next time!

Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes, La Salamandre: this is a clear, light gold, fizzy beer with a gentle head, which has a lagery malt smell with a hint of orange and maybe even cider vinegar. On the tip of the tongue it's sweet and zesty, rather fruity, a little tart but more pithy than soured. It's a bit more lagery in the mouth, with classic Belgian malt but not much flavour; the swallow is better, with some peppery notes and lingering soft fruit: pear, maybe apple-blossom and even coriander. It's not bitter, but memorable, certainly not the generic lager or Weissbier it looked like coming out of the bottle.

Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes, La Meule: a watery yellow beer, again with a lagery fizz and brief foam; the odor is subtle, with candyfloss and vanilla, overlaid with bread flour and some savory herbs (maybe a seasonal sage and parsley stuffing?). Sparkling fruitiness in the first taste, with a cheeky zestiness behind the pert lager foreground, persists in the mouth, giving both orange and lemon. The tastes of zest and pith overcome a dull wheatiness, and lead to a herby finish without much bitterness but somehow leaving me with a lasting impression of well-seasoned steak. I probably wouldn't chose this blonde beer very often, but it wasn't bad at all, for its kind.

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