16 June 2006

Blessed are the Cheesemakers

In a grocery shop in Ardres I had a bottle of local beer foisted upon me by the shopkeeper (it takes a lot of effort to foist artisan beer on me, it really does). Entitled La Bière à Frometon, it is sold as an accompaniment to cheese, and bears the name of the brewer (Christophe Noyon) and the cheesemaker who helped with it (Philippe Olivier).

It is in the style of the Flemish golden ales, and Duvel in particular: strong, slightly cloudy and brimming with flavour. There is an added artisan quality to it as well, a well-honed smoothness reminiscent of the Trappist tripel-style ales. Perhaps it's the Trappist connection that brings the cheese into the equation, Chimay being one brand which produces both products. Other than that, I really don't see what makes this a special beer for cheeselovers, and I suspect it may be a slightly cynical effort by a brewer and a cheesemaker to introduce the customers of the other guy to their own product. Still, you can't argue with the quality of the beer.

As an excercise in synergy, then, it leaves something to be desired; as a beer it is first rate.

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