Thursday, October 11, 2012

There's no beer brewed in France, is there?

Last we saw my ancestor, James Poniard, he'd already left Brittany, France and set up his homestead in Galway, Ireland.  But did he leave behind a place that we associate with wine and certainly not beer and ale?  Let's take a look at the brewing scene in Brittany.  It's not that far across the channel to England, and obviously there was contact with the British and Irish.  My ancestor was able to secure employment in Ireland, although whether he found employment before he went or after is a mystery.  But it does appear that the Lamberts requested him to come over.  Anyway, back to Brittany:

When you search on Brewing in Brittany (Bretagne), the first thing that comes up is:

Which has links to the Brasserie de Bretange and their individual brews.

Among the primary brewers of Brittany are:

Saint Erwann - The patron saint of Brittany and lawyers (maybe we shouldn't hold that against him) produce an abbey ale at 7.7% made with seven grains: barley, wheat, buckwheat, oats, rye, spelt, millet and floral hops.

Celtika - One of their main brews is a Belgian Style Ale at 8.8% made with strong barley malt and a triple fermentation process which brings a touch of honey, green apple and violet to the taste and a lightly toasted after-taste. On BrewAdvocate a number of reviewers report very high carbonation. They also brew a 4.8% cranberry ale, a Belgian Wit and a blonde ale reported to be spicy and fruity with very good reviews.

Dremmwel - They produce a very unique 6% ABV English type of red ale with tastes of caramel, peach and apple. Their golden abbey is a robust 7.7%, brewed with noble hops and a slight acidic taste and not quite the mouthfeel expected of an abbey.  Their blonde ale at 5%ABV is brewed with malted barley and wheat and has a spicy. fruity and malty flavor, but reported to have high carbonation.  They also have a Belgian dark stout which is at 4%ABV that is fairly mild tasting.

Brasserie Britt de Bretagne has three different lines:

Gwiniz Du - Their specialty of Brittany is an ale made with buckwheat, very mild, slightly roasted, but with no perceptible acidity or bitterness tastes.  This is in an American dark wheat ale style and on BeerAdvocate gets very good marks.

Britt - Britt has three brews - a 6% blonde pilsner with a fairly hoppy aroma and dry finish, a 4.8% white belgian wit ale which for the one reviewer on BeerAdvocate was very pleasurable, and a 5.4% Belgian dark red ale brewed with peat smoked malt and the taste of whiskey barrels.  Britt doesn't pasteurize their beers, but does ferment them twice.

AR-MEN - Ar-Men has a golden ale that is like a Belgian Wit - spiced with coriander, orange peel and other spices at a moderate 4.8%.  They also have a 6% red ale, an amber wheat, a Belgian abbey.

It is very unexpected and exciting to see the variety and quality of the brews in Brittany.  I only hope my ancestor had access to such variety.

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