There’s Craft… and then there’s craft

On our visits to family in France we make a point of tasting local beers. Here’s a truly local beer from a truly local small brewery – the Brasserie de la Vallée Javot in Machault, Seine-et-Marne.

Founder Sylvain Rouhen makes a point of using only French-grown hops. He even grows his own Saaz hops on the wall of his brewery. In the case of this beer, Blonde Spéciale, the hops and the other ingredients are organically grown.

This 7%-ABV Blonde Spéciale, which its creator considers an “abbey ale,” pours slightly hazy with a copper-gold color. We found it to have a lovely floral hop halo with a hint of citrus and a gentle malt chewiness. A genuine pleasure.

There are craft beers, and then there are craft beers. Some “Craft” beers are available in supermarkets all over the USA and beyond, and we’re all the happier for it. But unless you visit the Brasserie de la Vallée Javot, in the lovely village of Machault, the only place you’ll find Bière de Javot Blonde Spéciale is at a farm shop in nearby Héricy that sells other local products. The next time you’re in the Brie country, I urge you to seek them out. If you’re lucky you can taste the brewery’s excellent stout (Brune), a ginger-flavored Belgian White and a very interesting Blonde that’s subtly flavored with juniper berries. We’ll be tasting those for you soon. They’re almost worth staying put for…