Beer has been brewed in France since time immemorial, with its beer-drinking culture concentrated in those areas bordering Belgium and Germany. Elsewhere, of course, wine has always been the alcoholic beverage of choice.
So while its neighbours have each spawned a host of recognisable brewing styles, the recognition given to the likes of Bordeaux or Bergerac or Champagne has never been properly applied to its beers.
The single exception to that might be the Biere De Garde, a traditional ale of the northern coast and Flemish border. The name roughly translates as “beer for keeping” and was typically brewed in spring to save for the warmer months, which were less favourable for brewing. To keep, it was typically brewed stronger, with the higher alcohol content protecting it against spoilage.
Jehanne is Thornbridge Brewery’s take on the style, brewed in the sun-kissed Cote de Derbyshire to a powerful 7.4% ABV.
It pours an attractive bright amber with a soft fruity aroma, before tripping across the palate with the careless ease of a beer garden refresher, distributing some malty, banana-ish flavours before its serious strength finally steps forward to reveal itself in a warming, mellowing, sleep-inducing aftertaste.
Jehanne may not be French, but “c’est formidable”.
Star Ratings (each out of 10)