Tag Archives: Beers of Europe

#56 – Super des Fagnes Blonde

#56 - Super des Fagnes Blonde

Size: 250 ml

ABV: 7.5 %

Beer #52 in Belgium, beers #53 and #54 in Luxembourg, beer #55 in Germany, and now beer #56 in Italy. We were clearly covering a fair bit of ground (or maybe I was drinking too slowly). We had been aiming for Lake Garda by evening but the driving was beginning to do me in, and so after we saw the beautiful view of Lake d’Iseo from the hill, something drew us down. Within an hour we had secured a modern cabin on the edge of the lake. The views were fantastic, the weather was stunning, and I had a fridge! Happiness is clearly putting ones feet up by the lake as the sun begins to set with one gorgeous brunette and three chilled-out blondes. Although the blondes in question turned out to be all surface no feeling. So often the way.

The first was another from the Fagnes school, that I had picked up in the Couvin warehouse. I had recently learnt that the warehouse has a close association with the Brasserie des Fagnes, and I feel I must briefly talk about this place as for anyone on their first real Belgian beer stock-up, there really is no finer feeling. OK, I had wandered around Beers of Europe up in Norfolk which makes you feel like a kid in a candy shop, but its like you are too young to be able to afford everything you want. Being in the ‘Comptoir des Fagnes’ with all the time in the world, was like being like a kid in the candy store you loved as a kid, but with a pocket full of cash. Most beers were about a Euro each on average, and my only limitation seemed to be the amount of room in the car. I was reliably informed that this store had over 600 Belgian beers, and so choosing a hundred or so proved particularly difficult for me. I grabbed a trolley, got my Belgian Beer Guide out and spent the next hour in an orgasmic trance.

These warehouses are often known as Drankencentrales, or Drankenhandels in Flemish speaking areas, or negociants or depositaires in the more French areas. They exist primarily for local cafes and stores, although thanks to the world opening up, its not unusual to see other people like me wandering through, and contributing to the store-keepers nightmare – 100+ singly purchased bottles – each to be hand entered on to the till,  and each with a ten cent deposit to be rung through. I’d even managed to get into the wrong queue and so had irritated a number of rushed locals behind me looking for a quick few crates on the way home. They didn’t seem to care though, and even helped me carry the boxes to the car. I had decided to stock up on a few rarer beers and it became evident that to get to a thousand beers I was clearly going to have to kiss a few frogs.

The Super des Fagnes Blonde was clearly not as refined as her darker sister (#50). She certainly wasn’t unpleasant and certainly didn’t taste sticky or cloying as some stronger beers can. She gave me a good head, with a grapefruity aroma but it just went nowhere after that. She promised me so much and delivered so little. I was just thankful I had another blonde lined up straight after (#57).

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Filed under 6, Belgian Ale, Brewers, Deer, Duck, Fagnes

#3 – Bush Ambree

#3 - Bush Ambree

Size: 250 ml

ABV: 12 %

Bush Ambree was the original Bush Beer produced by Dubuisson. From 1933 it was pretty much their only beer until 1991 when the family began to extend their range. This beer is also famous for being the oldest Belgian beer brand on the market, in that the recipe has remained completely unaltered since first brewed over 70 years ago.

It is interesting to note that the name Bush, is the anglicised name for the French Dubuisson. This was due to the desire of the Dubuisson family to produce a beer based on the English barley wines of the time. Stepping back into the present day, it is clearly noticeable in many shops round the world, particularly in the UK that the name has changed to Scaldis. Aside from a potential sexual connotation why would a brewery with such a rich history opt to change their brand to something that sounds more like a Latvian washing detergent?

Essentially it all comes down to corporate greed – the now defunct purveyor of Budweiser, Anheuser Busch decided in 2004 that Bush Beer was too similar in name to their weaker product Busch Beer, and so began a completely uneccessary legal battle against this small Belgian brewery. The minnow of course lost out and thanks to a ruling from the International Court of Arbitration in Paris they were only able to keep the Bush name in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Switzerland and Portugal. Elsewhere it must be Scaldis! Petitions and protests were launched all around the beer community but common sense of course did not prevail.

This was another beer drunk in the safety of my own home, from my ever growing collection bought from ‘Beers of Europe’ in Norfolk. I had pretty high hopes for one of the strongest beers in the Belgian catalogue, but despite the initial impressive flavour, I found it didnt really bring anything else of much distinction to the party. By the time the meagre 250ml had been downed I really couldnt think of anything else to say other than that this beer appeared to be little else than an expensive Tennents Super !

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Filed under 6, Belgian Strong Ale, Dubuisson