Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's Bastille Day - Let Them Drink Beer!

Like we ever need an excuse to drink beer...

The 4th of July has passed which means that it's time to celebrate Bastille Day and all things French. And by all things French, we mean beer.

Many people, even many in France, don't realize that France - particularly in the north, along the border with Belgium - has a long-standing brewing tradition. Unfortunately, the brewing industry was almost completely decimated by the two World Wars while the tradition of farmhouse ales was also adversely affected by the rise in popularity of clean lagers. Fortunately, some of the brewers were able to hold out or returned after a hiatus while other new breweries have been popping up all around the country.

There are several opportunities to drink French beer this weekend. 
Come out to Café d'Alsace or Blind Tiger this weekend or pick up a few bottles at your local good beer shop.

Roast Pig Dinner
When:  Saturday, 14 July - Monday, 16 July, 6-10 pm
Where:  Café d'Alsace, 1695 2nd Avenue (at E. 88th St.)
What:  $49.95 for a 3-course dinner paired with French beers

All weekend long, Café d'Alsace will be celebrating Bastille Day with French beer. They're offering a 3-course roast suckling pig dinner available each night and paired with 3 different French beers. Come see why we think that the varied flavors and styles of beer can hold up to the robust character of the meal better than wine can. 

In addition to the beer dinner, Café d'Alsace will also be offering flights of 4 different French beers for $12.

The choice of breweries includes: 

  • Au Baron - tiny family-run brewery near Belgium making refreshing saison/bière de garde hybrids 
  • Bourganel - located in the Ardèche, in southeast France, they use local products like chestnuts and honey to flavor their beers 
  • Bretagne - from Brittany, Brasserie de Bretagne takes inspiration from both Belgian and Anglo-Saxon styles but puts their own unique twist on them 
  • Castelain - traditional bière de garde brewery in the north of France. Their Ch'ti line of beers are the ones you'll find in France and are named for the local dialect and nickname for the inhabitants of French Flanders. Hé, Biloute!  
  • La Choulette - another bière de garde brewery. Monsieur Dhaussy comes from a long line of brewers and is an expert on French brewing history 
  • Mont Blanc - their beers are brewed with pure glacier water from Mont Blanc in the Alps  
  • St.Germain/Page 24 - new bière de garde brewery making modern versions that are hoppier than their traditional malty counterparts 
  • Theillier - the Theillier brewery has been making 100% malt bière de garde at their small brewery in Bavay since the 1850s 
  • Thiriez - Daniel Thiriez brews earthy farmhouse ales with a Belgian inspiration 

Liberty Leading the People (to a glass of good French beer)

Beer Brunch
When:  Sunday, 15 July, 11:30 am onwards
Where:  Blind Tiger Ale House, 281 Bleecker Street
What:  pay-as-you-go 

On Sunday, the Blind Tiger will be putting up 4 French drafts in honor of Bastille Day. Come for a special French-ified brunch menu created by Chef Tommy (crêpes!) and enjoy the following beers:

Brasserie de Bretagne Gwiniz Du - dark ale brewed with Brittany's famous buckwheat (known as "gwiniz du" in the Breton language).

Brasserie Castelain Ch'ti Ambrée - a malty amber bière de garde, conditioned - or "guarded" - for 6 weeks before being bottled. Full of roast and caramel flavors.

Brasserie Castelain Ch'ti Triple - a stronger version of their blonde bière de garde, hopped with French-grown hops:  Magnum, Strisselspalt, Spater Select, and Saaz.

Brasserie du Mont Blanc La Rousse - the low mineral content of the water from a glacial spring gives a clean taste to this amber ale brewed with hibiscus and elderberry.

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