Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM) from Jura is one of the breweries recommended by Swiss commenters on this blog (hi Laurent!) so I was very pleased to find some in Palais des Bières in Geneva. It's an odd little bar-cum-shop in the basement of a shopping centre selling mostly Belgian beers, with a handful of British and others. And all at outrageous prices: this pair cost me a bit over €6 each. They'd want to be tasty.
The first one I opened was La Meule: 6% ABV and proclaiming itself a bière de garde, one of those catch-all styles that can mean anything as long as its brown-ish and hazy. Which this is. The secret miracle ingredient is sage, for extra farmhouse rusticity, I suppose. The herb leaps out of the aroma combining with fruity citric smells as well. On tasting it's quite dry and rather funky: I detect the presence of brettanomyces in spades. After the initial shock there are some beautiful Jaffa orange notes and a touch of aftershave spice. It reminds me of something and I wave away the late sage flavour which isn't part of the recollection. Orval. It tastes a lot like Orval, only with sage in it. A horror to Orval purists I'm sure, but an undeniably interesting beer and one which I quite enjoyed.
The second one was La Cuivrée. This is a brighter red-amber shade next to its stablemate, topped with a fluffy ivory-coloured head. I get a zingy aroma of fresh hops but they're not so apparent on tasting. Instead its a highly attenuated beer: thin and with a touch of sourness masked somewhat by the fresh hops. You know what comes next: sour; fresh hops... it's an Iris clone. Well, maybe a bit. It's not quite as zingy as fresh Iris, nor as puckeringly sour, but if I was in an Iris-free zone and craving it, La Cuivrée would certainly help take the edge off.
And while we're up the Jura, another brewery from Laurent's comments: Trois Dames. I came across a few of their beers totally by chance in Bavaria Brasserie, a beer hall in Lausanne where I was expecting little other than draught Paulaner but found a fantastic selection of European beers, though not much local. We only stayed for the one so I made it Pacifique, a 5% ABV US-style pale ale.
It took a while to pour as the foam had to be let subside in the too-small branded glass. A hazy orange beer is what eventually emerged under the head. There's a bubblegum mish-mash of fruity aromas, separating on tasting into soft fruit like lychees and nectarines. The sweetness becomes more apparent as it warms, bringing out sticky honey flavours that don't sit well with the busy fizz. This is one to drink cool. From a bigger glass.
It would have been nice to see some of these on draught, but I guess that's the absence of a pub culture for you. Places like Brasserie Bavaria are a welcome substitute. And there's always the €6 take-home bottle...
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