QTN™: Brasserie Duyck, Jenlain Bière de Garde

Yep, the French make beer—highly complex and distinctive beer. I don’t think your average Pabst or Bud drinker would denote this fabulous bière de garde as a beer, but it’s accessible to anyone who’s enjoyed Belgian beers. Michael Jackson notes that Duyck’s Jenlain uses pan-European hops (Alsace, Flanders, Germany, Slovenia) and that it’s 6.5% ABV; he doesn’t note the surprising sweetness that greets you on the first sip. The sweetness is matched by the complexity of the nose, which is equal parts orange peel, bready yeast, and caramel, and by the lengthy finish with lingering citrus and spice notes. Not an everyday beer, but then what is?