Bière des Ours translates to “Bear’s Beer” and to avoid any misunderstanding there’s a brown bear on the label of this 75cl bottle. A quick look at the rear of the bottle reveals honey in the list of ingredients, hence (I guess) the Bear reference.
It hails from ‘La Binchoise’ brewery, in the Belgian town of Binche.
Binche is in Western Belgium, about ten miles from the French border, and thus in the French speaking part of Belgium known as ‘Wallonia’. In Flanders (the Flemish part of Belgium) the beer is marketed as ‘Berenbier’ .
The Binchoise brewery traces its history back to 1836, and proclaims itself to be preserving artisan brewing techniques.
This beer had been standing on my beer shelf for some time, and so any bottle conditioning yeast was firmly set in the bottom of the bottle, enabling a clear, crisp pour, of what surprised me to be a blonde ale, for some reason the brown bottle and label had led me to expect a brown beer, go figure.
There was no head to speak of, and the nose was slightly sour, with hints of citrus and bubblegum, then that undertone of honey.
The flavour, was rich and well rounded, giving flavours of bread and honey, the alcohol was warming, and the honey provided a sweetness that made a pleasant change from the cane sugar that usually underpins strong Belgian ales.
It’s medium bodied, and while I wouldn’t rush to drink it again, all in all it was a very pleasurable experience.
I know Scott’s had some disappointments in the past with honey beers; this one does what it sets out to.
Bob the Brit