The villa we stayed in for our holiday was in a sleepy, spread out village called Flayosc. It was a bit of a beer desert, with only macro-lager stubbies from the usual suspects available to buy in what passed for the local corners shops. The nearest Carrefour was a fifteen drive away in Draguignan and didn’t sell anything of interest beer wise.
I don’t drink wine, but the rest of the party did, so one day we popped into the local wine co-operative to check out what they had. It was like a slightly posher Adnams Cellar & Kitchen, with lots of local products to go along with all the wine. Some bottles of beer in a corner immediately caught my eye and after a bit of translating, we worked out that they were made with local chestnut flour.
I thought it was just the Italian’s who brewed with chestnut flour, but there you go. Luckily for us the villa had internet and wi-fi, so I was able to find out a bit more about the beer and who brewed it. I was slightly disappointed to find that it was brewed by Brasserie Bourganel, who were about a three and a half hour drive away, so not exactly local; there went any chance of a brewery visit.
Still, it was nice to have access to some beer that wasn’t brewed by a faceless multinational and that at least has some local produce in it. I did consider buying some of the chestnut flour to use in a homebrew when I got home, but it was very expensive.
So what about that actual beer then? It poured a colour that wasn’t quite dark enough to be a chestnut brown, and was a touch too dark to be considered any shade of copper. Think of a reddish brown colour and you’ll be nearly there. It had one of those bubbly heads that froth and foam up the glass, before dying back to nothing. Other than that, it sat limpid in the glass.
There was a definite, not normal, note to the aroma. Not in a bad way though, just in a way that meant I had absolutely no idea what it was. I can only assume that was the chestnut flour doing its thing until told otherwise. It was very smooth in the mouth, with pleasant malty flavours upfront and a tingle of bitterness at the death. There was also a nice chestnut flavour running through the middle, which was pretty nice.
- Brasserie Bourganel
- La Marrouge, 5%, 750ml
As I mentioned earlier, I’d always thought that chestnut flour in beer was an Italian thing, but if you find yourself down near Flayosc then pop into Le Cellier des 3 collines and buy some, it’s very nice. If you like your wine, they also do excellent Rosé, try the Vitis 5.