I've not had the best of luck with Breton beers, and the cartoony packaging of this mixed sixpack from La Coreffe in Carhaix had me expecting more murky crap. Best to get it over with.
I started with Coreff Blonde: very pale for the style, and quite weak too at just 4.2% ABV. There was a healthy layer of bright white foam on top as it poured, and quite a sweet perfume aroma but it's not at all a heavy beer. There's a light lageryness, with mild effervescence rather than proper fizz. Alongside the crispness sits a breezy violets-and-clover meadow quality. Not the sticky mess I anticipated and actually quite deftly put together.
La Blanche adds a touch of apprehension to this philosophy of cleanness, pouring a perfectly limpid yellow with masses of gas. While the fizz provides a certain dryness, this is much sweeter than the blonde and the floral flavour shades towards sickly. A mild pepperiness in the aroma is the only real nod towards witbier. It's not often that the ideal aperitif in a French line-up is the blonde, but that appears to be the case with Coreff.
Lastly, Coreff Ambrée pours quite flat and is a dark honey colour. The aroma is caramel and chocolate and it tastes like a good Irish red: toasted grain, brown sugar and a touch of treacle bitterness. Some nice milk chocolate starts to come through as it warms. Another one that there's nothing wrong with, but something a bit more interesting would be appreciated.
These are accomplished, experienced beers, showing a competence and confidence unusual in French artisan beer. I wouldn't object to them as my local fare.
Thanks to Pádraig for the bottles.
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