In 2006, Bastille Day came two days late … to New Albany, but a hardy group of 26 revelers beat the heat at the Bistro New Albany yesterday and celebrated French cuisine and fermentation science.
France’s proudest original beer style was traditionally made by farmers in the beer-loving north of France, near the border with Belgium. Brewed in the colder months of late winter and early spring, it was bottled in wine and champagne bottles, then laid down in cellars to be shared with family and friends in the warm months, when the heat made brewing impossible. The beer had to be strong and hardy enough for cellaring, yet light and refreshing enough to quench a farmer’s thirst at the height of the summer.
from the web site of Shelton Brothers (importers of most ales below).
Sincere thanks to all in attendance, and to Dave and Dave, proprietors of bNA, for making this event possible. Even more appreciation is due those who joined us for the bicycle ride earlier in the afternoon. See Freedom of Navigation Exercises for a recap.
This dinner and beer tasting evolved in a very spontaneous fashion, given the desire of the Daves to stage fun events, multiple cases of Bieres de Gardes stacked in the Rich O’s storage area, and the overlap of Bastille Day with the Tour de France, which a few of us have witnessed while riding our own bikes in the vicinity. All these factors came together, and a fine time was had by all.
The idea was to spend little time on tasting notes and beer descriptions, but to have a good time. I speak no French, and in truth, have little idea how to pronounce the names of the beers, but that didn;t seem to matter. We were not overly concerned with proper glassware,and pourings were expanded from an original goal of four ounces to six ounces for each of the nine ales (except the closing splash of Pome).
The menu, including pairings, follows.
Bastille Day aperitif
St. Sylvestre Gavroche (8.5% abv)
Amber "red" ale, French for “street urchin.”
Hors- d ‘ oeuvres
-Canapês au Duxelles (mushroom canapes)
-Oeufs Farcis Garnis (stuffed eggs)
-Boucheés au Chevre (puff pastry with goat cheese)
Thiriez Blonde (6% abv)
Farmhouse blond brewed in French Flanders, near the Belgian border.
Thiriez Amber (5.8% abv)
Lightly roasted amber and red malts from Northern France.
Thiriez Extra (4.5% abv)
Farmhouse bitter with French barley and English hops.
- Pureé de Cèleri (celery soup)
Cuvee des Jonquilles (Biere de Garde de L’avesnois) (7% abv)
Blond ale, bottle conditioned.
-Salade de Betterave (beet-root salad)
Jenlain (6% abv)
A classic amber Biere de Garde from the Duyck brewery.
- Suprême de Vollaille á l’ Arlesienne (breast of chicken with fried eggplant)
La Choulette Ambree (8%)
Another classic amber Biere de Garde, bottle conditioned, top-fermented.
La Choulette Les Sans Culottes (7% abv)
From the importer’s website: “This, the brewery’s masterpiece, proudly pays homage to Les Sans Culottes – the “trouserless” craftsmen who could not afford uniforms but unflinchingly did the handiwork of the French Revolution. A number of brewers were included in their ranks.”
-Tartlettes aux Nuisse (nut tartlette with blue cheese)
La Choulette de Noel 2004 (7% abv)
Malty seasonal specialty, aged in the Public House walk-in and expected to be have developed an oxidized, sherry-like quality. Cross your fingers.
E. Dupont POME 1996 (17% abv)
Previously unannounced. A very special blend of E. Dupont's unfermented apple juice and his one year old Calvados . This blend was filled into 5 year old empty calvados casks in 1996 the tannins of which were still at work. It has been aging in these wooden barrels ever since. As the name "Pommeau" is legally reserved for such blends not exceeding 30 months of aging in those wooden casks the term "POME" was created to celebrate this very special 10 year old blend of apple juice and calvados.