European Escapades

Brewer Review! ‘Brasserie de Bretagne’




Four of the beers from the ‘Brasserie de Bretagne’
Loving Beer Tastings on the Cote D’Amour

I passed through the Cote D’amour in Brittany I came across a small brewery called ‘Brasserie de Bretagne’ in Minihy-Tréguier. They brew a number of bottle conditioned beers and one of the ranges is called Dremmwel. I’m not quite up on the translation on the back of the bottle but what I can glean is that historically, the sailors of Tregor would carry a bagpipe, and they would defy the horizon (Dremmwel), an imaginary boundary between sea, air, earth and the blazing sun. This mythical instrument, has both a festive and powerful relationship with France, and was even formalized in the Navy in 1794.

The beers are dedicated to that, and they blend strength and character using four elements in the best tradition of the brewery. I presume the four ingredients would therefore be malt, hops, water and yeast. They also state on the label, that it’s an unfiltered living beer that is bottle conditioned. It sounds like it is something special, and in France that maybe true. But as we all know in the Cambridge beer circle if it’s not live then it’s not classed as beer in our books, so it won’t get a review. This does mean that whilst I’m in France I get a restricted choice when wanting to try out some proper beer for you guys. For the uninformed people out there such as the CEO’s of Inbev, SABMiller, Anheuser-Busch, Heineken International and Molson Coors, Please note proper beer is live beer, not some dead pasteurised crap that is made using a continuous fermentation process that is known to reduce flavour development of the product and is not real Lager anyway. If you want to try a real beer send a mail, and I will happily invite you to one of our beer meets to try some of the “Cambridge Beer Circle” Brews. If you want to know about real lager ask the Germans. Small rant over, back to the review.

The poured glass of the Dremmwel beer 'Rousse' The poured glass of the Dremmwel beer ‘Rousse’

The first I tried was the ‘Dremmwel Rousse’ or red, which uses caramel malt in its production to give a good interpretation of an English bitter. Good nose with slight hints of sweetness to it and a pleasing bitterness at 6%abv it’s a little over on the alcohol front so not a supping bitter but one of the better beers from ‘Brasserie de Bretagne’.

The second try was the Blond wheat beer at 5%abv. The brewer describes it as ‘Light and easily digestible, brewed from malted barley and wheat, flavoured with aromatic hops and slightly spicy”. A wheat beer definitely with a hint of a spicy nose yes, but I couldn’t get any distinct hop aroma or flavour at all, except maybe a little tickle of a peppery finish. I suppose I’m too used to you hop heads and your hopped beers in the circle. In all I found it to be quite bland and watery on my palette, maybe a hint of citrus as the beer warmed. But it may appeal to the ‘What’s the matter, Lager-Boy? Afraid you might taste something brigade’ who fancy trying something out of their comfort zone.

Third up was a slight move away from the Dremmwel, although from the same brewery at 5.4%abv we had the Gwiniz Du. From their website I gleaned that Gwiniz means black wheat. Seems it received the Gold Medal at Concours Général Agricole in 2006 and Silver in 2003 (first competition held in France on beers) and was brewed to go with Crepes of all things… I just want beer to drink really. This is not a dark beer although you may think so with a Noir in the title, but a dark wheat beer, which gives a mid to dark amber colour. They talk of slow roasting the malt to reduce the acidity so I presume this allows a mash at a higher PH than their normal beers for their water profile although how much higher I don’t know. I do know it gives more of a residual sweetness to this amber brew, which has a nice rounded mouth feel. The wheat flavour is not as strong as some wheat beers like ‘Hoegarden’ which is unmistakable as a wheat beer, but subtle and subdued. As for aroma, not one I can identify, again this brewery does not seem strong on aroma. A good drinkable beer in my opinion, but in the UK would be a middle of the pack beer.

The last on the list was ‘Doree’ or Blond in English. As you may gather this is made from pale malts and from the description on the website, Belgian style hops, although the hops used are not mentioned. This was the strongest of the brews at 7%abv and the first to have a distinctive aroma to it. Initially the beer is citrusy on the nose but with a candyfloss after aroma at the back of the throat. It also had a reasonable bitterness on the tongue and a pleasant rounded aftertaste. It may have been that this was the last of the four I drank in the evening session but surprising for me its the one I probably remember the most.

So if I have to pick a favourite it has to be the ‘Dremmwel Doree’ and makes a pleasant change to the beers I would normally choose as my drink of choice. Maybe because it’s getting warmer here in France and my desire for summer quaffing ales is kicking in. But at 7%abv, it’s certainly not in that category, hic….

For further info on Brasserie de Bretagne, check out their website at

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 14th, 2010 at 3:29 pm and is filed under Beer Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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