Whereas much of Europe has been suffering with summer temperatures approaching, or in excess of 40 degs., Brussels has rarely been above 30. Nonetheless, warm enough to keep an eye open for suitable summer beers. I’ve chosen Chouffe Soleil.
I like their other beers, especially the Houblon and N’Ice and the label with the gnomes wins a point or two with me (an ersatz probably for the garden gnomes I’m not allowed to have!). The two gnomes on the Soleil bottle have laid out a red and white chequered tablecloth and the picnic basket stands ready. So what about the picnic beer?
It pours a hazy yellow with a thin head that, despite the above average carbonation, doesn’t last. The aroma is light malt and bready yeast. A surprising banana element was the first taste but this quickly disappeared in favour of more expected fruits; a lime citrus tang together with apple; apricot and nectarine. The malt taste was not overpowering and the bitterness was very light.
All in all, it reminded me of a Bavarian Weizen in taste and strength (6.0 % alc vol. – most normal Weizen beers are between 5 and 5,6%), so I was not overly surpised when I looked at the ingredients and found wheat malt listed. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a Weizen substitute; but perhaps it proves that the ”Rheinheitsgebot” in Bavaria is no more responsible for achieving a good beer than the addition of raw grain, secondary fermenting sugar and spices in Belgium.
What counts is the skill of the brewer and that is certainly demonstrated in Chouffe Soleil. An excellent summer beer for your next alfresco dine.