Craft brewers are fast becoming artists in their own right. Fashioning malty beverages that extend the boundaries of what we call beer.
Long frowned down upon as a second class beverage, beer is making a new mark on the culinary world. In fact, I would dare say it has surpassed wine in its ability to compliment virtually any food.
From a cheese burger to cheescake, heavy Italian pasta to a delicate sashimi, and all food choices in between, there is a beer to match. Something you simply cannot say about wine.
This is in part due to the regionality of beer (it’s brewed in almost every country in the world), and to the artisan approach of today’s craft brewers. Coupled with resourcefulness, passion, creativity, technology, and the availability of a wide range of stable, dependable ingredients, the definition of beer is in a state of flux.
In essence, we are witnessing a barley renaissance before our very eyes.
A Canvas called Field House
Field House Brewing, of Abbotsford, BC, Canada, is known for a “local” artisan approach. They recently stretched there own borders with a collaborative series of IPAs using ingredients from different regions of the world – Japan, Australia, France, Nordic, and Mexico.
In actuality, I don’t think they have borders when it comes to beer. Take their Field Beer for example, brewed with locally harvested beets and potatoes. It screams innovation, and a blatant disregard for tradition… this being a very good thing.
Viva la France!
Which brings us to our bière du jour, numèro cinq sur cinq, a French IPA.
You’re probably asking yourself “Self, what is a French IPA?”, and that’s exactly the question I was asking. According to the website it’s “brewed with blanc and tardif de bourgogne hops, cote de blanc yeast and franco-belges malt. Undernotes of spice, wood and white grape shine through a malty character”.
Sounds French to me.
So I had the pleasure of devouring a couple glasses of this in their canteen the other day along with a three pack of duck tacos (OH MY GOODNESS!!!). Enjoyed it so much I just had to pick up a bottle to save for an evening relax session.
With the winter waving goodbye in the rearview mirror and a warm spring evening finally upon me, I grabbed the bottle out of the fridge, and kicked back in my lawn chair with a glass, a bottle opener, notepad, and nothing but time.
The first thing you’ll notice is that it pours more like a crystal clear amber ale – very amber. With a rich head, settling to a whisper thin coating that clings nicely to the edge of the glass.
There is almost no hoppy scent that one would expect from an American style IPA. In fact it smells nothing like a hoppy beer but more like a white wine.
That first sip hits you with a sweet, fruity flavour, and a malty richness reflective of the amber colour. The sweetness drifts away, allowing the short-lived mild bitterness to peak through.
Closing my eyes, and letting my senses take over, its warmth and fruitiness really drew me in. Very calming actually. Perfect for a quiet evening with nothing to do but listen to the birds.
I’m thinking this would make pair nicely with dessert, maybe something a bit tart, or a cheese platter with fruit.
WIBTA?: I guess it goes without saying, but YES. However, this is a single batch release and is in limited supply…. I’ll be right back!
The Closing Notes
The only negative for me was that it is by no means an “IPA” as I’ve come to know them. All that to say, it is called a French IPA, and I’ve never had an IPA from France, so we’ll just leave it at that. If you’re expecting an American style IPA you will be sadly disappointed.
At the end of the day I simply loved this beer for what it was, and the vision behind it. I applaud Field House for their ingenuity, resourcefulness, and bravery. It takes a special sort of brewery to pull this off, and pull it off they did.
Oh by the way, the Field Beer is fabulously dry and earthy and wonderful, and worth a try. It would bring a tear to Dwight Schrute’s eyes – Perfectenschlag!
Where do I find this amazing beverage? Go to the link on their website showing various stockists around the province or visit Field House in person. I highly recommend visiting them in person as they have a nice food menu, great atmosphere, and a fine selection of beers to choose from for enjoying on premises, filling a growler, or bottles from the fridge.
Well that’s it for now, gonna go quench that panda sized thirst… Cheers!
*WIBTA is where I ask myself “Would I Buy This Again?”