17 June 2013

Cherchez la fée

The final beer out of my French haul from last summer, Dauphine Dorée à l'Absinthe, was chosen solely for the novelty value, made as it is with wormwood. So I confess I was a little disappointed when it didn't come out green. Instead it's a blonde, 6.5% ABV and brewed by Brasserie Artisanale du Val d'Ainan, "sur une idée de hors-norm" adds the label, in case you think such things are normal down their neck of les bois.

So what's in the package then? I was a bit worried by the fizz as it poured but it settles quickly and is smooth and rather heavy, heavier than the ABV might suggest. Dominating the aroma, and the flavour as well, is an unfortunate malt-sack mustiness. It took me a while to get past this, and thankfully the effect lessened as the beer warmed. Deeper in the profile there's a herbal element but I need the power of suggestion to get any aniseed from it; it could just as easily be eucalyptus, turmeric or peppermint.

Not the fun novelty I was expecting, then, but not the artificially flavoured mess I feared either. It's a mildly interesting warming ale, the sort you wouldn't send a postcard home from Belgium about, but warrants a pat on the back for France.


  1. Sp - absinthe didn't make YOUR heart grow fonder, then, John ...

    Wormwood-infused ale was still permitted when the hop tax arrived in the UK in 1711, but seems to have completely vanished as a tradition within these islands. Time for a revival?

    1. Oh definitely, if only so I can title a post "Thujone wanna do it like that".

  2. Anonymous8:09 am

    I would love to hear more about these French adventures! I'm currently living in France and (aside from Belgium/Germany and a few scattered) there aren't much to do for craft breweries. Extremely interesting to see something on the unique side coming from France, the cultivators of "neer try something new, but do the old things to the max." What they do, they do well, but local creativity is limited, from what I see.

    Great find!


    1. I have to say I've never had trouble finding craft beer in France, and often it's very good, but you really need to do your research, and I assume not all areas are equally beered up.

      There's more from last year's trip to Lyon in the top few posts here.