They say…

Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
"A joy to read" - Roger Protz
"Very authoritative" - Tim Webb.
"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor

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From the cellar: La Saint-Monon Brune

ABV: 7.5%
Origin: Ambly (Nassogne), Luxembourg, Wallonie
Websitewww.saintmonon.be
First published: 19 February 2001

Another review from the written for the pioneering Oxford Bottled Beer Database (OBBD). I’ve left it uncorrected — so please read it in that historical spirit.

Brasserie Saint-Monon is still in operation and this beer is still very much part of its range. It’s actually on a farm in the geographical region known as the Famenne, not the Ardennes though close by, and right by the boundary with Namur province. It was founded by homebrewer Peter Jacob in 1996, which might be why Peter Crombecq hadn’t caught up with it by the time I wrote this piece.

I know little about this brewery except that it’s in wooded country in the Ardennes, in the Belgian province of Luxembourg – it’s not even listed on the internet version of Peter Crombecq’s Benelux Biergids. I dug out the dusty champagne-style bottle from a corner of Bottles beer shop in east London.

The label sports a rustic illustration but no ‘Best Before’ date: instead, the bottling date is indicated, along with a statement guaranteeing flavour development for two years, and since this example was bottled in February 1999, it should have been just at its peak.

Popping the cork gives off a winey, woody aroma with a touch of vanilla and a pastilly sweetness. The head is nice and smooth, rapidly diminishing but with lingering lace. The palate is soft and beautifully integrated, full of malt and red fruit (raspberries, blackcurrants), with a slight sourness, and again, a pastille-like aromatic sweetness with liquorice, dandelion and burdock and brown sugar.

The hops are clear but soft and rounded, envelopingly perfumed and herbal rather than full-on bitter, another sign of good bottle age. The finish is very long, with wood, sourness, liquorice and the herbal hop flavours lingering delightfully. A very fine bottle of beer.

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