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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Say Jandrain-Jandrenouille and You've Said A Lot

I have gotten to the chapter on saisons. Ah, saisons! There is little on this blue dot so purely enjoyable as a good saision--and I've got one for you. Jandrain-Jandrenouille, also the name of a village made from two previously stand-alone villages that even collectively lacks official Belgian recognition. Let's call it JJ. JJ's a new brewery about which very little has been written. The website has a single photo of label art and not a word. The importer has no information about the brewery. The Belgian beer board has a bit more info. Joe Stange seems to be the most knowledgeable, having confirmed that the men behind the venture, Stéphane Meulemans and Alexandre Dumon, do indeed occupy time and space. Apparently they import hops for Yakima Chief, meaning they're not quite making a living at JJ, which, as we'll see, is a travesty. Here is an appropriately blurry photo for the shadowy brewers (courtesy that Belgian Beer Board link):

Their flagship beer is called IV, which is a name even less likely to evoke passion than Upright Four. Perhaps this is intentional, because the beer is delightful. The key to the beer is lychee, which is evident both in the nose and on the tongue. Lots and lots and lots of lychee. It's a hazy, honey-colored beer with only modest effervescence. For those of you who must compare beers to unattainable Platonic ideals, there's a foothold for criticism. The aroma also has touches of floral hopping, and the palate is long and dry, with a touch of quinine and lemongrass. But that lychee lingers even through that dry finish, and then even a little while longer.

Saisons should be characterful, which means they will be distinctive enough to turn folks off. Rusticity means character. I can imagine--I can't believe, by I can imagine--that someone might not like lychee. This beer's not for you. For everyone else: yes. You'll drop thirteen bones on a bottle, but a good beer shipped from halfway across the world is worth it. And this is a very, very good beer.

1 comment:

  1. I just don't get Saisons, and I know it's my problem. I want to understand them and (other than going to Saisonland, which won't happen any time soon) the only way to do that is getting a few bottles and drink them until I get Saison.

    (Funny is that when I got to a dinner part or something like that, I take with me a bottle of Dupont, because I know everyone will like it and yet it will be different to their idea of beer)