While France is better known for its wine than its beer, there is a deep history of brewing that goes back to the pre-Roman Celtic (or Gallic, or even Gaulish if you prefer) inhabitants of the country. Wine was the tipple of choice for Greeks and Romans, but the more northerly Celts liked their beer - and they bequeathed that love of beer to us through their descendants in Britain, Belgium, Germany and France.
Tonight I dipped into my dwindling beer cellar for a Celtika Amber Beer from Brasserie Celtik, a French brewery in Brittany - a region where a Celtic language, Breton, is still spoken. This corked & caged 750mL bottle was a 2007 Christmas gift from my friend Mark.
The beer poured a cloudy caramel, with a viscous cream-colored head that dissipated quickly but left behind significant lace. I could tell from the banana and malt aromas that this would be a sweet beer. It tasted overwhelmingly of toffee and plum, with a backbone of yeast that softened the sugars. Not much in the way of hops, just enough bitterness to keep the beer from being cloying. Despite the overall sweetness, the body was quite light at 5.8% ABV.
While it's not a superlative brew -- too sweet -- I did enjoy it. Brasserie Celtik doesn't have much of a web presence, so I have no idea where to find it locally. Thanks, Mark, for a lovely and apparently rare bottle!