Brasserie de Blaugies - La Moneuse Special Winter Ale
- ABV: 8%
- Serving Temperature: 45–52° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Chalice, or Pinot Glass
Brasserie de Blaugies brews a few beers, one of them a classic Saison (farmhouse ale) called La Moneuse, which is named for A. J. Moneuse (b. 1768), a famous local bandit and gang leader, and ancestor of the brewers’ family. La Moneuse Special Winter Ale is a heartier, slightly less earthy version of that beer. Be sure to chill this one down, and pour gently.
Expect a hazy, peachy brass color with a massive, meringue-like head. For an 8% beer, the alcohol is well-hidden. The nose is not as "farmhouse-y" as one might expect for the style; there’s mostly tons of fruity esters and light must on the nose, with notes of fresh clementine oranges, cotton candy, lemon peel, pineapple and other fleshy fruits. As it warms, some must and a touch more funk emerge. The evolution in aromas is worth waiting for—we spent 10 minutes just sniffing the thing before taking a first sip. It needs to warm up to fully bring out the saison elements in the aroma. Despite all its sweet scents, the beer hits quite dry and with a slight horse-blanket and phenolic note in the taste, as well as some subtler, spicy hoppiness and the impression of finely ground white pepper. There are slight juicy pineapple-like notes, but between the spicy, very dry, earthy hop character and its effervescent carbonation, things never run too sweet. The sweetness is more implied by the nose than driven by the flavor.
Look for a touch of clove plus hints of cardamom, cinnamon. That earthy hop profile hangs on almost indefinitely on the palate, with a minor afterglow akin to caramelized cotton candy whipped up in a barn. A wonderful treatment of the style that nicely gives more fruit and less spice on the nose than is typical, but still gives saison familiarity in the flavor. Pair with gamey meats like goat, venison, or pheasant, or partner with an earthy camembert cheese, which will mute the earthiness of the beer and let the second-tier, fruity characteristics come to the forefront. If aging bottles, keep an eye on them and sample every six months or so.
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