The first post for today comes to us from one of my favorite places to visit, Bavaria (Germany) and is a Grisette from Camba Bavaria Brewery.
Camba Bavaria has only been brewing since 2008 and already they have produced over 50 beers ranging from Pale ales, to Helles, to Russian Imperial Stouts aged in cognac barrels. Making use of a large variety of raw materials, they are always working to be innovative. This young brewery has been working to introduce new beers practically every week.
Located in an old mill in Truchtlaching on the river Alz, Camba was originally built as a brewery pilot plant by the brewing plant manufacturer BrauKon GmbH, regarded worldwide as one of the top suppliers of brewery equipment for small- and medium-sized breweries. This means that when Camba started they were already beginning with the ideal conditions for brewing beer giving them a head start in their journey. Currently Camba employs 3 master brewers, 5 brewers, and 5 beer sommeliers and work hard to communicate and exchange with other brewers around the world.
The name Camba Bavaria is actually pretty interesting as well. Truchtlaching was originally a celtic settlement in Bavaria. The word “Camba” means “brew kettle” in old Celtic language and thus pays tribute to that heritage. The second part, obviously, comes from the region in which they are located. The village of Truchtlaching is in Chiemgau, one of the most beautiful holiday destinations in Bavaria.
The style of beer we are drinking today is a Belgian Farmhouse Ale called a grisette. There is a fantastic write-up on grisettes at Draft Magazine’s website, but I’ll hit on the key notes from this for those of you not interested in reading through that whole thing.
A grisette holds a lot of characteristic similarities with a Saison. While saisons were often brewed for seasonal workers, grisettes were originally brewed for miners. There are many attempts to explain the name of the beer but they all boil down to the “gris” (French for grey) in the name. Whether this be the grey colour of the long boil when making the beer, the grey pinafores worn by women who would serve the miners, or the fact that the miners would come back looking for drinks covered in grey dust, it is safe to say that the name has its origins in the colour grey.
Grisettes are a low alcohol beer brewed with malted wheat and a more hop forward character then your saison. Most grisettes come in around 4% (this one is a whopping 5.9%), are brewed with approximately 40% malted and unmalted wheat, and while not coming to the point of an IPA or anywhere near, they have far more hop character then other farmhouse style ales.
As I said, this article really walks you through the Grisette style and history and is well worth a read. What I’ve noted above is a Coles notes version of this. I love beer history almost as much as I love drinking the beers. Let’s get to it.
Appearance – Pours a hazy straw colour with a nice frothy white head.
Smell – Grainy malt notes with a Belgian yeast character to it bringing some peppery notes. Subtle citrus and grassy hop notes as well.
Taste – Grainy, biscuit malt notes with some sweet apple character to it and a grassy, herbal hop finish.
Mouth Feel – Good carbonation, light bodied, off-dry malt/fruity finish.
Overall Thoughts – Had I not done a bit of reading about the style before drinking it, I would likely have said that I can’t really tell how this is different from a saison. Knowing that there is a bit more hop character to it, I can see that. This certainly brings some more hop notes then I would typically expect in a saison while still bringing some of those stereotypical saison characteristics too.
Do I like it? – A sweet and malty drink with some subtle hop character that is both refreshing and enjoyable. I did like it, although I would have preferred a bit more funk (I love funky farmhouse ales).