Beer Review 0029: La Goudale

This is an exciting first for me: I’ve never had a French beer. Us dirty Americans are conditioned from birth (so it seems) to despise and deplore anything French; I, however, being of reasonable common sense, happen to love almost anything and everything French I encounter. I’m scratching my head wondering why it has taken me so long to try a French beer.

Oh! I know why! Since America hates France, their beers are really hard to find here…

Moving along…

La Goudale is brewed by Les Brasseurs de Gayant in the style of Bière de Garde, which is sort of a lighter but malty beer that is to be refreshing and crisp on the palate. This particular beer is bottle conditioned, meaning it can be aged, and contains 7.8% alcohol by volume (ABV), which is in the typical range for this beer style. The date on the bottle is May 28, 2009, so this bottle does indeed have some age on it — almost two years at time of review. I am not sure when this beer goes “off,” or when the quality of the drink becomes affected by too much aging — information on this beer, as one would expect, is mostly in French, and well… my French isn’t so good, mang.

So, if you’ll pardon me — I just want to pop the cork on this bad boy and get to reviewing. En avant, bons Messieurs!

The pour produced a large amount of head that when contrasted with the golden amber drink made for a really good looking beer. The head was outstanding in its lasting quality, but the lacing proved to be only fair after starting very promising. The drink itself had a hazy quality with some sediment present. Very nice in the appearance category; it makes you want to grab the glass and take a sip.

The aromatic balance between hops, malt and yeast was very good in La Goudale. First nose detected a citrus presence, specifically oranges, and also a heavy aroma of fresh green apple. The malts were grainy and smelled of straw, while there was a general yeast hint to round things out. Floating in the background were hints of spice and some butter, but not off (spoiled) butter.

On the palate, this beer is heavily medicinal before turning extremely malty, and not grainy or straw like in the aromatics, but more like a burnt toast or overheated coffee flavor. It then turns to a twangy sour that makes the lips pucker, then returns subtly to a malty base. The finish is of average length but of questionable quality — it’s definitely an acquired taste.

Overall I thought La Goudale to be refreshing but not complex. The flavors, especially on the finish, aren’t my favorites when it comes to beer, but they may be right up your taste bud. As I noted earlier, this bottle has some age on it. I probably wouldn’t return to this beer, but I would be interested in trying a fresh bottle to see if there are any flavor differences.

La Goudale, 82 points. Price: $10.99 US for 750 ml bottle.

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