I must admit it was the label or, more to the point, the caricature of la Botteresse which caught my eye on the beer shop shelf. I’m sure many others have bought one of the family of Botteresse beers for the same reason.
For the record she apparently lived in the region in the early twentieth century and carried all sorts of goods in a wicker basket. Somehow I think the caricature is wishful thinking by the artist as to how she looked.
The region in question is Sant Georges sur Meuse where the Brasserie La Botteresse Sur-les -Bois is to be found. This relatively new brewery was started by two cousins, one a former brewer, the other a chemical technician. La Botteresse ambree was their first beer to come on the market in 1997.
Originally only brewed in 100 litre batches the microbrewery’s beers soon became poular and the brewery moved into its present premises in the village of Sur-les-Bois in 2006 where 1000 litre batches can be crafted.
The ambree is, as you would expect, an amber colour, achieved by the addition of some roasted malt to the dominant pale malt; it pours with an off white head. The malty aroma left me unprepareed for the first taste; an acid sour tang not unlike a red beer.
It perhaps would have put me off if it wasn’t immediately followed and harmonised by honey sweetness which slowly turned to barley sugar and malt extract. Very little bitterness but not necessary as the initial acid sour fruit taste balanced nicely. Well backed up with 8,5% alc. Vol. and a dryish finish.
An interesting and unusual strong pale ale; try it if you can but don’t get carried away by the label!