Brasserie Artisanale du Flo - Cuvée St. Antoine Blonde
- Alcohol by Volume: 7.5%
- Serving Temperature: 50–57° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Chalice, or Burgundy Glass
We love beers like the Cuvée St. Antoine: a yeast character that crackles, plenty of pepper to keep the core fruit in check, and a funky dryness that just makes us want to dig in deeper. As we dug into the backstory, it turns out that the brewer’s a good friend of Dany Prignon, and even works part-time at Fantôme. This release carries over some of the Fantômeish aesthetic in terms of rusticity and a subtle wild-yeast character. We got some light Brettiness and lactic notes, a core funk that amplifies the whole rather than steals the show. Mouthwatering beer.
Brasserie du Flo hails from the Belgian village of Blehen, about an hour southeast of Brussels and in Wallonia more broadly. Only about forty cases of this beer have made it into the U.S., and the brewer’s working on the equivalent of a two-barrel system: which works out to four half-barrel kegs per batch. Not much! We were stoked to be able to snag enough of Antoine.
Quick note: there’s a lot of carbonation in this one, so make sure your bottles are properly chilled down before pouring to minimize foaming. For us this poured almost like a glass of pulpy pink grapefruit juice, with its clarity depending upon how carefully one tilts it. A patchy off-white head forms atop, with the immediate aromatics just a massively generous faceful of well-formed yeast character: fresh-baked bread, Meyer lemons, white pepper, and a bit of what made us think of grapefruit pith. It’s not overly heavy on the citrusy side: more a mixture of bready blonde ale and peppery saison, with an accentuating note of tart fruits.
That generous yeast quality pervades the entire package. A bready, toasty, even vanilla-tinged quality budges up against the forward carbonation: a marriage of umami and bubbles. Citrus rind, fresh-cracked pepper, and notes like juicy lime wedges keep this feeling spritzy and well aloft. The beer captures so many things about small-batch Belgian stuff that we dig: layers of intermingling yeast, a firm and funky acidity, well-fermented dryness, and plush fruity esters.
If you’re planning to cellar bottles, keep an eye on the tartness and carbonation as things go forward. We found this pretty spot-on early, but robust enough to age gracefully for quite a while. In terms of pairings: we’d look towards baked seafood or a soft, triple-crème cheese.
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