Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Avec Les Bons Voeux de la Brasserie Dupont

Type: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Origin: Tourpes, Belgium
Price: $11.99/750 mL
ABV: 9.5%
NSP: 5.94 (unscaled)

Damn life, getting in the way of my beer reviewing.  Thought I'd celebrate my return (even though it hasn't really been that long) with a bottle that'd been hanging out in my fridge for a while.  I was at Bine and Vine a while back, browsing their nice collection of Belgians, and the mustard-yellow label jumped out at me.  And of course, it never hurts to have something from Dupont in the fridge.  The name means, as the website says, "With the Best Wishes of the Brasserie Dupont."  I kind of wish they'd made a typo and printed "Brassiere Dupont", but that's mainly because I'm juvenile.  Anyway, apparently this is a New Year's bottling- so the bottle's been cellared a bit.

The bottle gave me a nice champagne-y cough when I opened it, with that always inviting wisp of vapor that often accompanies it.  Of course, it also meant that no matter how gently I poured it, the head was going to explode.  Which I was not pleased about, because it was going to force me to wait a bit to drink it, and I haven't had a leisurely beer in a while so I wasn't patient.  The smell coming out of the glass is pretty incredible, everything good about a saison- pepper and lemon, with a nice honey sweetness and Belgian funk.  

The flavor is also everything you could want in a saison.  The lemony citrus, a bit of spice, and nice funky Belgian yeast flavors.  There's also a fair bit of pilsner-like skunky bitterness, more than I was expecting.  And lurking behind it all is a pretty feisty booze punch- which is not necessarily surprising, given that the body of a saison's not really stout enough to completely conceal 9.5%.  

In short, this is really damn good.  It doesn't try to fuck around with the typical saison flavors, and it nails all of the hallmarks right on the head.  The only thing that drags this down a bit (and I mean, a very little bit) is that the alcohol's a bit strong.  Normally I wouldn't bitch about that (this being an NSP-centric blog and all) but saison flavors are a bit delicate, and the actual flavor of the alcohol kind of combats everything else.  But that's on the nitpicky end of the criticism scale.  So the lesson is, as always- if you're in a saison mood, and you don't know what to get, go for something from Dupont.

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