So as my adoring fans all know I am living in France and currently unemployed, consequently I have the time to indulge some of my passions. Amongst my many loves is one of beer. Not just drinking it like a college kid in the hope of getting drunk, but the appreciation of fine quality artisan crafted beer.
There are levels of quality of everything, and as a conscious consumer I make it my goal to appreciate and enjoy as high quality as I can afford for almost everything I consume. Though France is obviously more well known for their wine, they also produce a variety of excellent beers and ciders. In my opinion many of their better beers are inspired by their neighbour Belgium and have a higher alcohol content and more complex flavour. The beer I am reviewing today is …
Bellerose Superior Blond Beer / Biere Blonde Extra
I have noticed that many French and Belgian beers relish and embrace the alcohol content of their beers, with some companies even naming the beer after the alcohol content. Leffe brewery have the Ritual 9 which is very tasty and strong with its 9% alcohol, another popular beer in Brittany/Bretagne/Breizh where I am living, is the 8.8 Celtika which as you may have guessed is 8.8% alcohol.
Now onto the review. The Bellerose is 6.5% as it openly states on its label, however it does not taste like a strong beer. It has a very refreshing fruity flavour, which the brewery describes as Litchi and Citrus and they are not too far off. The three types of hops they have used result in a flavourful tropical cocktail of a beer with distinct Belgian-esque influences. They do not disclose which types of hops they use as I don’t think they are quite targeting that level of beer enthusiast. Their label design does however indicate a consciousness about the type of consumer they believe will enjoy their beer.
The beer style, and consequently label, is influenced by the 1950s era of beer production where heavily hopped beers were the norm. Interestingly the brewers decided to include some spices in the ingredients. I am not sure what spices they have used and it is difficult to detect any distinct spicy flavours coming through. Presumably the hops they used were not entirely satisfactory so they added some spice to enhance the flavour. This is what I do with cooking so it doesn’t feel like such a stretch to assume this is the case. I appreciate that they did not add any sugar into the brew to ‘artificially’ increase the alcohol content. A few breweries of high alcohol beers are known to do this and I almost feel like it’s cheating.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful golden brew. It has a richness and complexity of flavour without being too intense. I could quite happily drink this beer on a hot summers day as well as during winter time, which it is now. I am known for liking quite strong beers, with my beer style of choice being India Pale Ales (IPAs), however I have really taken to the Belgian style beers, especially when they are strongly hopped like this one. So next time you think of France don’t just assume its all about the wine and cheese. Their beers are alive and well and delicious.