Brasserie Fantôme - Vertignasse
- ABV: 4.5%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 48–55° F
Vertignasse is, among other things, a grapefruit witbier, and this is the very first time it’s ever been bottled. Aside from a small keg batch, this was previously only available at the brewery.
This one was definitely a fun (and vaguely challenging) release from brewer Dany Prignon at Brasserie Fantôme—but, as many of you know from the brewery’s other delicious and often unexpected offerings, this is par for the course. So... this beer’s green. Not a subtle hue, with hints of occasional green here or there. It’s definitively, gloriously, shamrockingly green. And if there were ever a time and place set aside to assemble all the green beers of the world (and we don’t necessarily think that’s a great idea, to be honest), we’re fully confident Vertignasse would crush most of its absinthe-colored competition. It’s delicious. A solid, off-white head caps it, with firm retention and lacing. And the beer beneath goes way past any expectations.
This is the part of the notes where the greenness trails off. Both its aromatics and flavors are fully focused around that core Fantôme yeast character—which some of our RBC members will notice from the aromatics alone. There’s a complex pepperiness that forms the focus of the yeast presence: featuring both white pepper and bits of clove at the edge, along with that assertive, almost-lemony citrus. There’s some endearing funk, too, but it’s much more subtle and seamlessly integrated than you’ll typically see elsewhere. Fruity, peppery and refreshing.
Rumors are that the green color comes from spinach juice—but Fantôme typically prefers to keeps its special ingredients a mystery. There’s nothing vegetal in the flavor, for sure, as soft grapefruit acidity and potent pepperiness continue from the aroma. The carbonation is right on, adding a bit of lift without fizzing things out, and there’s a whole lot of complexity here that gradually asserts itself beneath the pepper and fruit: almond and hints of vanilla, toasty malt, subtle clove-and-banana hefeweizen character...—all packed into a great green vessel. Another unique Fantôme offering, for sure, and one we’re proud to offer to our members.
That 4.5% ABV here suggests this is best enjoyed fresh—although experience indicates that some of these offerings from Brasserie Fantôme can prove surprisingly interesting with a bit of age behind. YMMV, for sure. Use those pepper and fruit foci to your advantage regarding pairings: roasted chicken’s one option, but this is also sturdy enough to stand up beside pork fare. Given its bold color, keep in mind we taste with our eyes first and pair this accordingly.
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