The Brew Site

Jenlain Ambrée (French Farmhouse Ale)

The version of Jenlain Ambrée that I found locally was actually labeled a bit confusingly: "Jenlain French Farmhouse Ale." Unable to find anything definite referring to this online, I was clued in by RateBeer, which had a pointer and a note that it’s an alias of the Ambrée. My assumption is that it’s simply an import name change, probably cashing in on the foreign factor; "French Farmhouse Ale" sounds more impressive than "Amber."

Anyway. This is a classic Bière de Garde, and from the line of what I would consider quintessentially French beers (this one is brewed in northern France). Most of the time when I’ve seen similar beers in the store, they are in the champagne-style 750ml bottles, corked and all, but this was standard 12-ounce bottle size. Expensive—a four-pack for eight or nine dollars, but ultimately worth it.

Appearance: Cloudy orange with brown-copper smudging. Head is the color of old bone.

Smell: Malty sweet, overripe plum, cut grass, musty berry, sweet dough.

Taste: Sweet grains—almost cloying—almost a brandy character. Leather. Some sort of fruit… old blackberry? Root vegetables. Dry. Sour just enough to be refreshing. A nice toasted wheat bread. Very complex.

Mouthfeel: A hint tangy and dry, you taste it after. Light but not thin or watery, and softly effervescent.

Overall: A great example of the Bière de Garde, very drinkable and worth trying. The price tag’ll get you, though.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores 83 out of 100, with 100% of all 15 reviewers approving. On RateBeer, it scores 3.35 out of 5 and is in their 73rd percentile.