Name – Kasteel Cru
Brewer – Brasserie la Licorne
Classification – 'Fine' Lager
Strength – 5.2% ABV
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Could almost be Krug Champagne... if it had about a million more bubbles.
On the nose – A light, dry, wheat freshness.
On the tongue – Enigmatic... is the kindest way I can put it.
On the subject – Brewed in Alsace, it's Champagne yeast and high carbonation strives to set it apart. Without a doubt, the latter half of that objective was lost on me.
On the market – Sainsbury's. ASDA. Ocado. Other smaller or online outlets.
On the whole – 5/10
Not so very long ago, when testing Wyre Piddle Brewery's ale “Piddle In The Hole” I talked about the concept of 'subtlety' in beer making, and how it can sometimes be overdone.
If that's not a contradiction in terms...
Well, a few days later, I'm faced with a far more renowned brew which, quite frankly, appears to be suffering somewhat from that very same problem.
Put it this way, I think this Kasteel Cru is pretty decent beer, but I can't be absolutely sure of that due to a lack of compelling evidence forthcoming from the drink itself.
I could tell you that it looks rather like another French beverage, Champagne, but I would then have to add that the flavours within this beer do not make nearly as much impact as it's rather more famous compatriot.
Let me be clear, there are clues here. There are, for example, some potentially interesting citrus notes – but I just wish that their volume was a notch or two higher, or that they would endeavour to differ a little more from each other.
The method of production behind this product is somewhat revolutionary, or at least quirky, and new ways of brewing beer can often provide new ways of enjoying beer, but in this case the end result merely made me wonder why they went to all the trouble.
True, it has a lightness of body and a sense of freshness that combine to make it quite unique among beers. It would probably be a good brew to order as your 'Ice Cold In Alex'. But I can think of few other lagers that made me wish not only for more flavour – but also more gas. The lack of bubbles came as something of a shock after reading about the brewery's pride in the beer's 'elegant, sparkling' qualities.
This has been one of those drinking experiences which has left me confused as to why I'd hadn't had a better time. I had wanted, and indeed tried to like it.
The optimist in me wonders whether I just had a rogue bad bottle. But then the realist in me offers a list of probabilities on that score, it really is very unlikely.
So, if you've just arrived back from an arduous trek across the desert, a chilled Katseel Cru - with it's light body and relative absence of gas - might be just what you need.
To anyone not in that position - I couldn't honestly recommend it.