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: Prignon Fantôme

Prignon Fantôme Saison

Fantôme

ABV: 8%
Origin: Soy, Luxembourg, Wallonie
Websitewww.fantome.be
Date: 8 September 2000

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.

Dany Prignon is still brewing his eccentric beers today: indeed it appears hey have had far more influence on international craft notions of ‘saison’ and ‘farmhouse ale’ than more straightforward examples like Dupont. Re-reading my notes on the vegetal hop aromas and an ‘acidity bordering on rough cider’ I’m no longer quite as convinced if this influence was quite such a good thing!

A cult following attends this tiny farmhouse brewery in the Belgian province of Luxembourg, which looks like a tourist brochure study in rurality: it has even inspired a ‘Confrèrie’ who dress up in white cloaks and sashes to celebrate both the beer and other local produce. Some bottles appeared at the 2000 Great British Beer Fesitval and a glass of the product, with its friendly ghost label, quickly demonstrates its appeal.

As a bottle-conditioned artisanal blond beer in a champagne-type bottle from rural Wallonia, it is often lumped in with the Saisons but it is really an idiosyncratic speciality of its own, flavoured with locally-collected herbs and surely also including some wheat. It’s light amber in colour, with a thick sediment that makes it pour very cloudy, and an intense estery nose with a pungent hops and yeast aroma that borders on the vegetal.

The condition is lively, the first swallow conveying an explosion of fudgey malt and a summery fruitbowl of flavours including strawberry, raspberry and blueberry. There is also some straw-like character, and an acidity reminiscent of rough cider. The long finish affords numerous return appearances from the berry fruits, along with an elusive hint of spicy hops.

It is also dangerously drinkable – the label had soaked off the bottle and I was taken aback when I looked up the ABV after drinking the stuff. Just the sort of beer you hope will emerge from the bucolic idyll depicted on the website: I’m sending off for my white cloak and sash right now.

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