Sunday, 6 April 2008
Super des Fagnes Brune
After a short walk into Robertville one day on our Ardennes winter retreat, we stopped in at a village pub, Le Gavroche. I ordered a Super des Fagnes Brune, which sadly was served far too cold.
I find this happens quite all too often, and I really don’t know why. These brown ales almost always have their ideal storage temperature printed on the label -- usually somewhere between 8C and 14C depending on the brand -- so there’s no reason for pubs to screw it up and put the bottles in the fridge, where it will be less than 4C.
This common mistake affects the taste, of course, because the aromatics in the beer will be sluggish at lower temperatures: that is, they need some heat to release their flavours. Chilling them in the fridge dulls the taste. It surely slows or even halts the essential secondary fermentation these beers experience in the bottle. And it wastes energy, of course.
Anyway, after warming it up in my hands for a bit, Super des Fagnes Brune revealed itself. It’s dark with a good foamy head. The taste is malt and charcoal, and it’s very smooth. The 7.5% alcohol fits in well with the overall flavour. Nice bitter aftertaste. In short, it’s a great winter warmer after a crisp walk in the snow. Just remember to keep it warmer than the snow.