If you have a smattering of French, then it’s not difficult to guess that Blanche de Namur is a white beer from Namur, a town in Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium.
Actually the Brasserie du Bocq is sited in the village of Purnode, a village about ten miles south of Namur. The brewery was founded in 1858 by an enterprising local farmer as a means of employing his farm labourers through the winter months – this of course was the time of the Industrial Revolution when the temptation to leave the land and work in the new factories must have been a temptation for out-of-work farm workers.
Blanche de Namur is a Witbier (or White Beer) – that subset of wheatbeers that include Hoegaarden and Celis White.
They tend to be hazy, almost cloudy and contrary to popular belief, that haziness is not caused by yeast sediment – you could leave a glass for hours and it won’t settle out – it’s caused by wheat yeast proteins that are colloidal and remain in suspension.
This is described on the brewery’s website as ‘colloidal turbidity’ – a wonderful phrase, I think I have some of Colloidal Turbidity’s albums on 8 track in a cupboard somewhere!
It pours a creamy, lemonade, yellow, with a full, fluffy white head that fades slowly. It’s bottle conditioned so there’s years in there as well, but I tend to let my beers settle and pour them without disturbing the yeast too much.
The aforementioned colloidal turbidity is evident, as is the nose – coriander, orange-peel, lemon and spice. Those flavours hail from a time before hops were widely used to preserve beers.
The flavour is crisp, and yet has a creaminess, it’s closer to a Weihenstephaner than a Blue Moon or a Shock Top, and as such it’s really subtle. It tickles and teases the palate while refreshing. It’s very enjoyable and rewarding.
And in a 750ml bottle and ‘only’ 4.5% ABV it goes down a treat on a warm spring afternoon.
I’m happy to give this 4 stars – it was close to a 4.5.