What could be a better way to start my blog, than to do it with a beer from the amazing Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes ?
I can proudly say I have been a very early fan of Jérôme and his beers. I can remember having recommended his brewery to the Canadian beer writer Stephan Beaumont who was looking for something interesting in Switzerland after the discontinuation of the legendary Hürlimann Samichlaus Bier. It was in 1999 (or maybe early 2000), so in a prehistoric era where no ratebeer or other beeradvocate were there to allow you to search for such information easily. When I think about those past times, when Per Samuelsson, Josh Oakes and yours truly were about the only beer hunters present on the world wide web, I really feel like it was 25 years ago. So many beers went down and so much has happened in the beer world since then !
So let come back on track before being to much sentimental 🙂
The BFM started in 1997 and its brewer, Jérôme Rebetez, early finds out that there would be no easy way to break through the Swiss beer market. Firstly, this market is pretty damned closed (but this is another story) and secondly, the uncompromising philosophy of Jérôme, who never in his life would “tune down” his recipes to sell more beers, did not help either. But for me, the result is here: the BFM is the best brewery in Switzerland. Period.
Sadly, an article in the New York Times in January 2009 was necessary for that, finally, the Swiss press and television had a look at the BFM. Sometimes, people are just unable to see the gems standing in front of their eyes.
This article was about the Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Vintage 2006, chosen best barrel-aged beer in the world.
The Saint Bon-Chien, an 11% sour ale, is aged in different barrels previously used for rum, grappa, Burgundy and cabernet sauvignon. The name of this beer is a good example of the philosophy and whimsical humor of the brewer: Bon-Chien (read: “good dog”) was the name of the former (“sanctified”!) brewery cat and this beer is now brewed in her honor.
I have always been deeply convinced by the Saint Bon-Chien, which was first brewed in 2004. But I must say that the last vintage (2010) is simply fantastic ! This beer finally conquered the first rank of my ranking of Swiss beers getting ahead of brews like Rappi Bier Factory XXA and the defunct Trois Dames Pacific North West Coast, Bäre-Bräu Hopfenbombe as well as 2009 and 2008 vintages of the Saint Bon-Chien.
And finally, here’s a copy of my review:
courtesy of Laurent Mousson – pours a cloudy reddish-brown colour under a little elusive beige foam; a deep sourish nose with a presence of wood in front; notes of vinegar and cheese develop along with cherries and pepper; a moderate carbonation and a robust malt backbone, some sweetness below and a fair sourness on top of it; the woody tones show more presence in a very long finish where more sourish fruity notes appear – absolutely wonderful!