BREWERY: Brasserie Bourganel
LOCATION: Vals les Bains, France
STYLE: Fruit / vegetable beer
ABV: 5 percent
RELEASE DATE: Regular production
AVAILABLE IN: 330ml bottle750ml bottle
BEERS POURED: One
Today I’ll be once again using Google to translate a brewery’s web page, because I’ll be reviewing the Brasserie Bourganel Biere Aux Marrons from Vals les Bains, France and imported to the U.S. by Shelton Brothers Inc.
Brasserie Bourganel1 was started by Christian Bourganel in 2000 with the intent of featuring locally sourced ingredients from the Ardèche region. One of its first two beers was brewed used Ardèche chestnuts while the other used Ardèche blueberries.
The brewery grew over the years, expanding its operation and its beers, but those two original brews are still being produced. I’m reviewing the Biere Aux Marrons, which is the name that appears commonly across the brewery’s website and the importer’s website, though the label is a little more verbose. The label reads “Biéres Bourganel Biére aux Marrons de l’Ardéche” which translates “Bourganel Beers Beer with Chestnuts from Ardeche.”
The 750ml is a flip top bottle, which I love the look and functionality, especially in larger bottles you might not finish quickly. Breaking the seal on the flip top and popping it open, I pour the reddish brown beer into my glass, only producing a minor head that doesn’t last for more than a few seconds. The chestnuts and vanilla that is advertised on the bottle definitely has me excited to try it, though when I bring the glass to my nose it’s not that exciting of an aroma. Some sweet malts, caramel, hints of vanilla and a light nuttiness make up the aroma, and while that looks great on paper it isn’t really that exciting to my nose.
Somewhat less enthused than I was when I first opened the beer, I take my first sip which continues the downward spiral. The first thing I notice is how watery the mouthfeel of the beer is – which I can’t say I’ve ever had be the first thing I’ve noticed when reviewing a beer. After what I wished was a much heavier mouthfeel, the flavors start to resolve on my tongue including nuttiness, malts, caramel, some spice and the barest hint of vanilla. Again, all those flavors sound great together when written down, but they’re really underwhelming and not strong notes.