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Camìn Lewis | La Brasserie Artisanale de Nice

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Brewed by:
La Brasserie Artisanale de Nice

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kojevergas on 04-19-2016

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Ratings: 1 |  Reviews: 1
Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

33cl brown glass bottle with a purple wax-ed over pry-off crown cap purchased at the brewery earlier today for ~3.20 euro.

"Blonde E.S.B." Dry hopped with an approximation of Earl Grey tea (using local ingredients, including Bergamot) mixed by brewmaster Olivier himself.

Served chilled into a dimpled mug. Expectations are above average; this is my first beer from the brewery but Olivier made it sound very tasty.

HEAD: ~10cm wide. White colour. Frothy and foamy. Nice thick even consistency. Good complexion. Soft-looking. Retention is quite good - ~8+ minutes. Leaves no lacing on the sides of the mug as it recedes.

BODY: Translucent nontransparent dark copper with brown hues. No yeast or lees is visible within; appears filtered.

Nice look for an E.S.B.

AROMA: I don't pick up on any distinct Earl Grey tea notes, but (Bergamot) orange is evident. Doesn't seem to have any tea-like astringency, which is a plus in any beer brewed with tea. No black tea as far as I can tell.

The fruitiness of the Bergamot is nicely complemented by subtle fruity hop character. Luckily, it's not diacetyl-ridden like many E.S.B.s - a characteristic I prefer even if it isn't traditional. A pale malt backbone lends it a sweetness that glues the beer together.

Aromatic intensity is average.

Suggests a surprisingly balanced and enjoyable E.S.B., albeit one that doesn't showcase Earl Grey tea at all. That said, Oliver's own Earl Grey blend seems superior, and the seeming lack of astringency is nice.

TASTE: Thank God there's no buttery diacetyl - what a rarity in this style. Bergamot orange, hints of the black tea element of Earl Grey, but not actual Earl Grey. I like the citrusy emphasis of the tea character, which is subtle yet prevalent. Not astringent or oily, which is nice.

Pale malts give this its backbone. English yeast is characteristically clean but brings a nice snappy biscuity character into the fold. The tea notes take the place of hops in terms of balancing the malt sweetness with bitterness, and the result is an improvement over the usual fare.

Okay, it's a simple and somewhat shallow brew, but its balance is impressive and it's better than any E.S.B. I've had in recent memory.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, medium-bodied, well-carbonated, somewhat refreshing.

There's not quite a harmony of texture and taste here, but the former complements the latter nicely.

OVERALL: This French approximation of a traditionally English style beats most limeys at their own game. The introduction of home-blended tea into the usual E.S.B. flavour profile (minus all that bothersome diacetyl, save for a bit on the finish) is genius, and really works to elevate this beyond most beers in the style.

As a (nitpicky) aside, why the wax on the cap? Pure marketing and image control? Who is planning on aging an E.S.B.?

Highly drinkable and enjoyable, and a beer that makes me excited to try more brews from the brewery. Easily already one of the best local beers available for purchase in Nice. Discerning drinkers with an appreciation for restraint and subtlety (instead of the American model of loudness and big bold extremity) will find this a refreshing change from the unfortunate norm.

B- (3.40) / WORTHY

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Camìn Lewis from La Brasserie Artisanale de Nice
Beer rating: 3.4 out of 5 with 1 ratings
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