Au Baron Cuvée des JonquillesDecember 1, 2016
Brasserie Au BaronCuvée des Jonquilles
Gussignies, France Style: Bière de Garde ABV: 7%
A limited-release French farmhouse ale named for the brewery’s surrounding daffodils.
This beer takes me back to summers in France, sitting on a terrace sipping a blond bière de garde before dinner. It’s a beer typical of that style, full of sweet, body-enriching pale malt and mellow European hops that bring soft herb and floral notes that never quite balance out the sugars in the grain. Floating around are vague fruit notes—a hint of plum, something from the hedgerow—that help maintain interest right to the last, drying drop that sees hops build and linger without ever shattering the impression of the lush, sweet maltiness that has gone before.Jeff Evans is author of the Good Bottled Beer Guide, The Book of Beer Knowledge, Beer Lover's Britain and So You Want to Be a Beer Expert? More of his writing can be found at insidebeer.com.
In the hills of Hainaut in France, close to Belgium, the Bailleux family runs a small brewery and café specializing in warm-fermented, bottle-conditioned beers. The cross-over beers blend the bière de garde style of France with the closely related saison or farmhouse ales of French-speaking Wallonia over the border. Jonquilles means daffodils, but the flowers are not used in the beer, which celebrates the appearance of the plants every spring. The 7% golden beer pours with a heavy collar of foam. Pale malts and Brewers Gold, Hallertau and Strisselspalt varieties are used to produce a beer with a heady aroma of floral hops, creamy malt and candied fruit. The palate is bittersweet, spicy hops blending with biscuit malt and fruit. The finish is dry but with a fine balance of hops, malt and fruit. Hold the wine: This is great French beer.Roger Protz is the author of 300 Beers to Try Before You Die and 300 More Beers to Try Before You Die. Respected beer authority and editor of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide and protzonbeer.co.uk.