The Rare Beer Club March 2012 Selections–Cuvee du Flo Blonde & Upright Brewing Five

27 February 2012


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March 2012
Brasserie Artisinale et Didactique du Flo Blehen (Hannut, Belgium) — Cuvée du Flo Blonde &
Upright Brewing Company (Portland, Oregon) — Five
From the Rare Beer Club:

We’re very excited about this beer as its appearance in the Rare Beer Club represents the very first time that it has been distributed outside of the small Belgian region where it's made. ..

Yearly output from this Brasserie is something under around 125 barrels, which is less than 4,000 gallons—an incredibly small volume for a commercial brewery. In addition, all the beer is made by hand. Didier Cornet of Brasserie Artisinale et Didactique du Flo acts as a sort of local brew-teacher, offering visitors the opportunity to discover the art of brewing beer in his unbelievably small brewery that also doubles as the village café. Any beer with “du Flo” in the name is brewed personally by Didier, but there are other brands brewed there that are attempts by other folks—in many cases, immigrants from the African continent whom have fled their homes during the Arab Spring. It comes without surprise that Didier is a social worker by trade and brews as a hobby; commendably, he’s married the two to do some real good for people.

Cuvée du Flo Blonde pours a dirty gold, butterscotch color and is pretty well hazed due to the natural conditioning in the vessel. On the nose, expect big malts and floral hops, with a bit of butterscotch, and hints of some fruity esters. There’s a subtle tartness implied in the aroma, hinting toward sourness. You’ll detect authentic earthiness and even a touch of “barnyardy” must. Expect a spritzy/carbonated beer with fruity notes dominating. Look for lightly toasted, caramel focused malts. The farmhouse-like notes in the aroma show up in the flavor profile as a firmly rooted funkiness, but it remains subtle. There are some spice notes, including very subtle suggestions of ginger, cloves, and honeycomb. Finishes with notes of plantains and rose petals. Overall, this medium-to-full bodied brew is layered with rustic intensity. Best part is you guys will get it approximately 4 months before it can be found, in very limited quantities, elsewhere in the US. Cheers!

Upright Brewing Company (Portland, Oregon) — Five

The craft brew scene has been on a steady rise since the 1990’s and so has the market. Portland, Oregon is pretty much at the epicenter of “PacNW” brewing, with a whopping 43 breweries in operation as of December, 2011—more than any other city in the world. The PacNW hop bombs that helped make Oregon a famous brewing hotspot are more than plentiful here, so Upright Brewing had to venture down a different path in order to make their mark: the individualistic approach used in farmhouse styles, as in their use of locally-grown pale malt and hops, Saison yeast and open fermentation.

Think Pale Ale meets Saison and you have an idea of what Five is like. Pours a bronze color accompanied by a thick off-white head. Hops are evident, but instead of a PacNW Hop monster, we have a softer, perfumier quality wafting about. Xanthohumol, a cancer-fighting compound found only in hops—has been added to the beer in doses at least ten times higher than that typically found in beer. It works quite nicely with the growing citrus character as the beer warms. There’s a firm undercurrent of bready maltiness that balances the aroma. Playing a supporting role are the slightly phenolic, softly peppery influences of the Saison yeast. At full warmth, wildflower and grassy notes emerge. Hops dominate the finish, as does an impression of lemon zest; but after a near disappearance of the hops between sniff and swallow, where grains take center stage, well, it’s quite an impressive arc! In short, this is session Saison, just as it ought to be. You pretty much have to be within the state to get this beer on tap, or, nearby in the 2 others that may have it in the bottle. Enjoy the samples that we’ve sent you, as this beer is not easy to come by.

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