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Peter LaFrance

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Taste of… Jenlain Blonde

Brasserie Duyck
BP 6
59144 Jenlain - France

Tel. +(33) 3 27 49 70 03
Fax. +(33) 3 27 49 74 81

Preface: As you can see from the picture above, this tasting was not done “in house”. In fact I had some help in sampling this brew and I thank my good friend Mark for the use of his living room as a setting for the tasting and his taste receptors for their participation. His comments are bracketed.

This bottle of Jenlain Blonde was obtained from a reputable retailer and kept refrigerated after being purchased. Its retail cost was $8.95(US)

Appearance: This is a slightly cloudy brew, light amber with light brass tones… lightly carbonated with a slightly dense bone white head of small bubbles that formed a full head.

Aroma: First impression is a slightly toasty sensation with a touch of green grass/wet hay. The second impression revealed a bit more malt. It should be noted that there was a plate of sliced smoked ham in the near vicinity that did make an aromatic impression. In the lip-to-sip the sweet aroma/flavor stepped forward.

Mouth feel: The initial mouth feel is pleasantly effervescent, almost creamy, with little carbolic acid spike.

Flavor: The first impression, after the creamy mouth feel was of hard rock sugar candy. The second impression added a slight touch of caramel. The third taste reveled a malted grain flavor. Throughout there was little hint of hops. (This is a refreshing beer that would be really good on a hot day.)

Finish: The sugar candy flavor dries out and leaves a slightly citric finish on the pallet.

Comments: (This reminds me of a Duvel I had once… refreshing and not too heavy.) I am not unfamiliar with the Jenlain line of brews and will admit to having been a fan of these brews for a number of years. The bland cheddars and smoked ham that I tasted with this brew did little to add to the flavors of the brew or help me appreciate what character there was in the cheese. A sharper cheese, perhaps a bowl of steamed mussels would have been a much better idea. In fact a tin of sardines in light oil with a crisp loaf of bread would have been even better.

The brewery site: http://www.duyck.com/

What others Say:



Saturday, April 11, 2009

A taste of… The Gnome

Smuttynose Brewing Company
Portsmouth, NH

Preface: As you can see from the above picture, this brew was not tasted “in-house.” The tasting was on the occasion of this year’s Good Friday. On this afternoon an old acquaintance (in both senses of the context) and I met for an annual toast to the day. (A tradition of some thirty years with only an occasional interruption…)

And so The Gnome tasting at the Blind Tiger ale House in New York City was simply a continuation of a tradition of non-politically correct celebrations. The following tasting notes are therefore to be considered “holey” accurate…

The cost of the above glass of Gnome: ($7.00 US)

The following are my tasting notes:

Appearance: The Gnome is a cloudy tangerine colored brew (not golden and not quite orange) with almost no head.

Aroma: There are almost no aromatics to the brew but for a straw grass hint at the moment between lip and sip.

Mouth feel: After the initial liquid refreshment there is a rush of grapefruit and lemon juice citric sensations.

Flavor: These sensations are intensified in the later flavor impressions. There is a definite sharp acidic tang to this one.

Finish: The sharp citric flavors leave quickly with only traces of their being there left for any consideration.

Comments: The brewer took a good shot at Belgian-style ale. As this was the last of the Gnome left in New York City I did feel he might have been a bit old in the tooth. He did seem a bit too civilized for such a funky and often quite crude style of beer. It was a similar experience for me watching Carle Rove lay down some “rap” on that infamous YouTube clip. (Find it yourself…)

And now a word from the brewer…

Commercial Description:

“The Gnome was brewed in homage to the recent arrivals of hoppy Belgian beers that we’re starting to see here in the US. I was really shooting for that beautifully soft hopping that’s found in the Houblon Chouffe, however, the Gnome has developed its own unique characteristics and flavor profile. The base beer is a Belgian triple brewed with White Labs Chimay-style yeast. I really liked the fruit character from this yeast, but man, that stuff still hasn’t dropped bright. The hopping was done with Vanguard, Sterling and East Kent Goldings. I think this beer has a lot of potential, though I’d like another shot at brewing the style. There is a very limited amount of this beer, so if you happen to see it on tap, go ahead and share a pint with your gnomies!”

Malt: Weyermann Pilsner Malt, CaraHell, Cane Sugar

Hops: IBU ¬ 75
Bittering Hops – Vanguard
Flavor – Sterling
Dry Hop – East Kent Goldings
9% abv

The brewery homepage: http://www.smuttynose.com/index.html

Smuttynose Brewers notes: http://smuttynose.blogspot.com/2007/01/short-batch-gnome.html

What others are saying...

RateBeer: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/smuttynose-the-gnome/69896/

Beeradvocate: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/141/35225