French people. They are often the butt of many jokes and patriotic Americans are always quick to remind them that, “If it weren’t for us, you’d be speaking German today!” They were bailed out harder than Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, CitiGroup, and GM combined. On paper, France has a lot of debt to pay, and Brasserie De Saint-Sylvestre is producing some quality beer that’s starting to hush some of those patriotic naysayers. Their 3 Monts Flanders Golden Ale is on the chopping block today. Will it waive the white flag or will it earn a spot in the Louvre? Let’s run then numbers…
Appearance: The brew pours extremely light giving off a clear, golden hue. It has a lively and pure wedding-day-white head that sticks around for a bit. Lacing on the glass was perrrrrty.
Smell: Smells as if I am preparing to soak Thanksgiving day dishes is soapy water. Detergenty, a little chemically too. Not very appealing on the nose. I also get whiffs of Bud Light with a little bit of a saison yeast mixed in for good measure. One of the more disappointing noses on a beer I’ve reviewed.
Taste: Well, that’s good. Nothing like the nose at all. No off flavors of soap – it just tastes very clean (no pun intended). There is not much flavor that springs from this beer – the sweet grain is identifiable as is the typical French/Belgian yeast that gives it a bready character. Out side of that, there’s really not much going on, however that’s the style of the beer and not a knock on the beer itself. The ABV on this brew is more powerful than one would expect at 8.5% and you do get hints of it as you drink. It doesn’t stick out like an obese American in Paris, but lets you know its there. With that said, 3 Monts Golden is very easy to drink. The carbonation is just right and mouthfeel is relatively thin considering its bolstered ABV.
As I continued to drink, I came to the realization that this beer is distinctly European. I could see myself outside of a hole in the wall café watching musicians with their fedora tip-jars out jazzing along on a cobblestone pathway when drinking this brew. It’s something that no American brewery could produce – no assertive hop profile, no aggressive grains, and no clean yeast. The subtleties of this beer make it worth drinking and the hidden ABV makes it worth appreciating. I’ve had this beer before and once used it as a “palate cleanser” during a bottle share – it’s restrained flavor gives off an astute quality that makes you appreciate this simple beer.
Overall: It’s not for everybody, but 3 Monts Golden gets a B+. If you’re looking for an earth shattering, one of a kind brew, then don’t get this. However if you need something that’s surprisingly subtle and refined after drinking hop bomb after hop bomb, then pick this up. It’s distinctly European and a beer that Napoleon could be proud of.