24 March 2008

Perm's Pick of the Month for March: Dupont Forêt

Gather 'round, kids, it's time for another installment of Perm's Beer Pick!

In Belgium (and, I presume, much of Europe) this ale goes by the moniker "Moinette Biologique" (the "Organic Nun"), but over here look for a whimsical label vaguely resembling medieval tapestries and bearing the title "Forêt." It is an organic Saison (the label claims it is the only organic ale brewed in Belgium, at least by a commercial brewery) brewed by Brasserie Dupont, the purveyors of such fine offerings as Saison Dupont, Moinette Brune and Avec les Bons Voeux.
The Forêt holds its own against any of the other products put forth by this brewery; indeed, it rises near the top for me.

I've had said brew in the past, but never in a situation where I could prepare a review. I bought a 750 mL bottle a few days ago (from the Hendersonville Food Co-Op) to break out with our Easter Dinner on Sunday afternoon, and was it ever worth it.

For my enjoyment, I poured it into a Unibroue tulip glass, forming a huge foamy/rocky head. This beer is beautiful: the color of gold, hay at sunrise, and strong chamomile tea, with bubbles a-plenty rising from the bottom of the glass.

On the nose, this ale continues to unfold a plethora of offerings the longer I linger -- burnt sugar, caramel, grass and hay, almonds, cardamom, and (my favorite), boxwoods after a summer rain.

The taste picks up right where the nose leaves off: almonds, spice, white pepper, raw unrefined sugar and caramel, with a tart (almost mild citrus) twist. Superb!!

Nor does the palate disappoint: even thought the beer is slightly sweet on the tongue, the palate is cava-dry and bubbly. Wonderful stuff.
Its ABV strength registers at 7.5%, but it is quite well hidden -- so beware! It's easy to quaff this stuff fairly liberally.

Here was the culinary line-up:

Duck, marinated in orange puree and fresh rosemary, then oven-roasted with onions (mixed with brown sugar to caramelize)
saffron brown rice with peas
balsamic reduction sauce
homemade rosemary olive oil sourdough rolls
fruit salad
sweet ricotta tart with orange zest crust.
[ignore the interloper bottle of wine, of course...]

The main course AND the dessert were near-perfect matches for the beer.

And, on top of all that, it's organic!

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