I had a number of candidates for this month's Session. It's hosted by Ashley of Drink With The Wench and the theme is Frankenstein Beers: those beers and brewers who defy conventional wisdom and employ way-out methods to produce strange and unsettling results. Presumably we get extra points if we identify any that are ultimately responsible for the downfall of their creator.
Wednesday's blueberry stout was one I considered, and there are a few other odds and sods in the fridge with unusual adjuncts that would have done too, but nothing really stood out. And then on Saturday Dave and Laura dropped me over a box of assorted beers they'd picked up on holiday in France. One of them was from Brasserie du Mont Blanc, in the ill-starred doctor's back yard, and was a lurid shade of bright green. Were Victor Frankenstein a brewer, this is definitely what he'd be turning out.
According to the blurb, the active ingredient in La Verte is genepy, a cousin of wormwood and the principal flavouring in Chartreuse liqueur. According to this drinker's palate, however, the active ingredient is sugar. It's not as sweet as some French concoctions I've tasted in the past (and another I'll be reviewing in the near future) but it's still leaning towards the alcopop side of the scale. There is however, a bit of hop character, mostly on the nose: you can trust the clear glass packaging to bring that out pungently. And the genepy is there too, subtly. Mrs Beer Nut described it as a slightly warming effect, like ginger. I wouldn't go that far, but it's definitely along those lines: a herbal piquancy that struggles to make itself heard over the shouty sugar. The colour, with tragic inevitability, is artificial.
If it wasn't so sweet and so strong (5.9% ABV) I'd nearly be willing to admit this as a sunny day refresher. It's light enough with enough zing to carry it. But as-is, it's drinkable but not one you'd go running back to. Not a monster; merely a misbegotten and unfortunate creation.
Westmalle Dubbel - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2008 | ABV: 7% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007* It's a longtime favourite today. Westmalle Dubbel goes back to the very beginnings...
1 week ago