Friday, June 30, 2006


Ok, I lied. Coors Light is not the best beer for summer.

I'm not usually too big on "flavored" beers. I like my beer to be "beer-flavored." However, since we are in a quest for the best summer beer, I figured I would give a raspberry-flavored beer a try, just to see what happened. It turns out that this makes for a very good summer beer.

La Choulette (FR only) has been a family brewery since the end of the 19th century in the Nord-pas-de-Calais region of France, an area that includes Calais and Dunkerque and borders Belgium. The brewery is probably better known for the "Sans Culottes" beer than this offering, which contains raspberry extract to give it that refreshing summertime taste.

As you can see, the bottle is brown, with a simple off-white label containing a few images of raspberries and the beer's name and a brief description. The best part is it contains a generic white cap - nothing says artisanal like bulk purchases of caps. The beer pours a dark reddish color with a large but fluffy head of off-white/reddish. The head dies quite quickly and becomes a sort of thin film that would more likely be associated with superfund water site.
The scent is overwhelming raspberry - not bad - I just was incapable of smelling anything else.

I expected it to be sweet. Many fruit flavored beers that I have drank are debilitatingly sweet from the extract (or maybe its the sugar) that they add. However not this one. First taste is not bad and at 6% ABV, there is no real alcohol flavor to deal with. There is a crisp and clean taste to this beer. The more I drank this the more I could imagine spending afternoons hanging out in the yard or by the pool having a solid stock of these brews on hand. It is very refreshing - something about fruity flavoring makes the beer very conducive to warm-weather quaffing.

The aftertaste is not bad, per se, just strange. It tastes almost like old raspberries, not necessarily rotten, but the crisp raspberry taste gives way to a more bitter, less satisfying aftertaste.

I would not order one of these in a bar, but would definitely consider in on an outdoor terrace in the middle of a July afternoon. Extra points are given because we are looking at these beers from a summer stand point. It is probably above an 8, but I don't want to go all the way to 9. So, I will round down. Excellent summer beer for passing your time in the great outdoors. 8 thumbs up.

NB: While I do not want to read the reviews on Rate Beer or the Beer Advocate before I write my own, I will do my best to link a review from one or the other (probably rate beer, because I already have an account there) once I have completed my review. Here's the review from Rate Beer.