La Guillotine
Vive la Revolution


A beer to celebrate the 200th. anniversary of the start of the French Revolution; what better name than guillotine? Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, the namesake of the execution machine, would most certainly have preferred a beer to be named directly after him rather than via a gruesome killing method. After all he didn’t invent the machine or build it; he merely proposed before parliament the use of a simple mechanism to effect decapitation as a more humane method of capital punishment than those in use at the time. That was in 1789, shortly after the start of the revolution.

In retrospect it seems a strange decision by the brewery Huyghe, not only to celebrate the death of so many with a beer but to introduce a second strong pale ale so shortly after the launch of Delirium Tremens at the end of December 1988, but maybe they couldn’t foresee the great success of the DT or maybe they thought it’s better to ride two horses than one.

I’ll save the description of Delirium Tremens for another time and concentrate on La Guillotine; with the trade mark mock porcelain bottle the beer could only come from Huyghe. Poured into the glass it has a rich golden colour and a reasonable head.

The aroma is predominantly biscuity with just a hint of fruit and spice. A lively carbonation gives a refreshing start to the taste; hops dominate followed by a yeast /phenolic spiciness. Malt and fruit tastes found it difficult to compete as the alcohol (8,5% vol.) becomes more apparent. A relatively smooth, if a bit unbalanced taste, which tends towards a dry mouthfeel.

A good beer, worth trying, but there are better examples of strong pale ales; Moinette or Duvel for instance.



P.S: Josef- Ignace couldn’t do much about the (mis)use of his surname but his descendants chose to adopt a new name.