As the ‘Saint’ in the name may suggest, Brasserie St-Feuillien is named for the abbey where its brewing tradition began, the Abbaye St-Feuillien du Roeulx.
Saint Feuillien was apparently a 7th century Irish monk (although Feuillien doesn’t sound a very Irish name to me) who travelled to Belgium to preach the Gospel and was beheaded in a forest for his trouble. On the other hand, he did get an abbey and later a brewery named after him, so it wasn’t all bad news.
St-Feuillien Grand Cru comes in a bottle that looks more likely to hold wine than beer – the combination, I suspect, of both the ‘Grand Cru‘ name and the very traditional, chateau-like label.
It’s a golden, cider-like beer, with no real head on it. The nose is odd – slightly musty with a little acid, it’s almost closer to a German white wine than a beer.
In the mouth, it’s dry with a sharp, green apple acidity and a subtle alcohol that belies the 9.5% ABV strength. It’s unusual and distinctly unbeerlike, and I’m half convinced that this might be a bad bottle – certainly it doesn’t bear any resemblance to the “hoppy, subtle and rich” descriptions to be found on Brasserie St-Feuillien’s website.
With time in the glass, the acidity drops off and leaves you with a more conventional, dry pale ale – worthy of 3 stars as it is, but it will be interesting to try another bottle to double-check.
Many thanks to Belgian Beerz for providing this year’s Twelve Beers Of Christmas!