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A Beer By Any Other Name

There are different reasons why I try a beer. Maybe it is something I have been looking forward to. Maybe it is a rare offering that I can’t pass up, or something brand new to the market. Or, sometimes, I just take a flyer for no reason.

And then there are the quirky reasons that aren’t really associated with the beer itself.

A recent one is a beer called Camille from Brouwerij Strubbe from Ichtegem, Belgium. They are a relatively small brewery that distributes in Belgium only. I received a bottle from a friend who lives in Brussels and regularly uses their father as their mule to transport beer to me. They usually send me a collection of small scale Belgian beer they think I might be interested in (along with a steady supply of one of my favourite Belgium-only beer, Hercule Stout).

Camille was included in a recent shipment. Both their reason for including it and my fascination to try it were immediately obvious. Camille is the name of my youngest daughter. The idea of trying a beer named after her (even if coincidentally) was too good to pass up.

If named differently the beer likely would have never caught my attention. It is a European-style pale lager with a marginally sexist label (I think I give it a pass, but barely). But given the name I HAD to try it, right?

So what of it?

It is a pale straw beer with bright clarity and a large, very loose white head that forms big bubbles. It is very effervescent, producing a never-ending cascade of bubbles. The aroma has a grainy character with a sweet corn feature. Some soft pilsner breadiness lurks in the background. Overall the aroma is subdued.

The front flavour starts with honey, light grassiness and a bit of a floral note. A key feature of the taste is a noted corn sweetness. I only pick up a hint of earthy hop character. The bitterness level is quite low, leaving the beer with a notably sweet linger.

As a pale lager it is decent. There is a pleasant, soft note to the malt and the beer is clean and easy to drink. I get just enough hops to keep the beer from being boring and too North American. The carbonation level is too high, something I can’t quite explain. Overall it simply has too sweet a profile for me, but I chalk that up to the style in general, rather than their particular interpretation.

Personally, I think the beer would be a bit stronger if they attenuated it a bit more to give a drier body which would bring out the hops more. But who am I to tell a brewery how to make a mass appeal pale lager?

Looking at the brewery’s website, my instinct is that this is a bit of a throwaway beer for them. Their line-up includes some interesting looking Abbey-style beer and Flanders sours, as well as what looks like an Imperial Witbier (go figure). Having not tried any of the beer I cannot speak to how well made they are, but regardless it seems the pale lager is a toss to add accessibility to their line-up, which is fair enough.

Personally if I made a beer named after my daughter it would truly be remarkable and unique – just like her. However, It  was fun to try a beer named after her, even if coincidental.


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