The French craft brewers that recently exhibited their beers here in New York City were glad to not only pour their beers but to talk about them as well. I was lucky enough to have a chance to chat with seven of the brewers’ representatives attending the event. The following are notes on the essence of those conversations.
The first stop was an exhibit of beers from Les Brasseurs de Gayant and a chat with their export marketing executive Benedicte Jobert. Of the three beers she poured the one I was most interested in was Amadeus; a refreshing white beer with the subtle lemon nose and hints of both orange and coriander. This was a particularly refreshing beer at only 4.5% alcohol by volume. While I was tasting the beer she made a special point to inform me that this was the largest family-owned brewery in France and they are very proud to have a noted Belgian brewing master to develop their beers.
The next stop was a chat with Hubert Pommier, a representative from Brasserie Bourganel who poured four beers that were all specially flavored. The first featured a honey flavor. The next was infused with a nougat flavor. I could understand the third beer and its vanilla flavor however the fourth flavored with bilberry juice was something I didn’t quite understand. Most of the explanation was done by their New York City representative who might not of been totally aware of the subtleties of those beers.
One of the brewers seem to have difficulty with a large sign behind their table so naturally I had to wander over. And here I found the Brasserie du Mont Blanc and the company CEO Sylvain Chiron. He took great pride in great pains explaining to me the water for their beers all came from a pristine spring in the Alps. What impressed me more was the simplicity of the beers and that they were three quite logically named products: La Blonde (5.8% abv), La Rousse (6.5% abv) and La Blanche (4.7% abv). These were beers that consumers can certainly wrap their minds around.
Next was the Brasserie St. Germain represented by Stephane Bogaert. He was pouring two beers the first Hildegard Page 24 Blonde (6.9% abv) and the second, Hildegard Page 24 Amber (6.9% abv). The number of people interested in these beers made conversation a little difficult.
The Brasserie Castelain table, serving some real Ch’ti beers… in particular their Ch’ti Triple (7.5% abv) seem to be receiving the most attention. Here was for the longest lines were and again conversation was limited to the representative asking which of the beers we would like to taste.
Finally, before my taste buds became too confused, I stopped by the table where the beers of Brasserie de St. Sylvestre were being poured. There COO Pierre Marchica went to great lengths to explain there was a family-run brewery and that their flagship beer 3 Monts Golden Ale was infusion brewed with Flemish hops and fermented with a special ale yeast.
By that time I thought it prudent to indulge in some of the rather impressive selection of foods the kitchen had prepared for the event and give the brewers and their representatives an opportunity to chat with the rest of the press.
Note: There were five other breweries represented but there is only so much tasting that can be done at one time…