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Beer Review:
St. Amand French
Country Ale

Bénifontaine, France

By: George Zhen

August 10, 2005

(Bénifontaine, France) - The French are renowned for their refined tastes in art, food and wine among other things. We faced some barriers when attempting to procure a representative for this refined country and were becoming discouraged until we stumbled upon a bottle of St. Amand French Country Ale.

According to bottle label propaganda, there were once over 2,000 country farms in the northern part of France that produced finely-crafted beer. This number has dwindled to less than 20 farms, and this beer comes from one of them.

St. Amand French Country Ale arrives in America contained in a large, Belgian-styled corked bottle. This immediately calls for the beer snifter treatment, since this is obviously a refined product. When opened, it airs sweetly and pours smoothly with a scant head. The color is a touch on the murky golden side, which matches well with the farmland impression of the product.

The taste is a nice blend of hopeful hops and barley, much in the Belgian style of brewing. Unfortunately, the finish of this brew reveals the lesser quality of the ingredients, which aren't quite on par with their Belgian neighbors. In fairness, whose are? Whether it is a matter of process or ingredients, the beer falls short of the expectations raised by the label.

A bottle of this by yourself will do you fine, but splitting it with a friend won't quite deliver the goods. Although it has 6% alcohol inside, the amount of brew just isn't enough to really set your night. This beer may be just what you need to accompany your meal of meat or pork, though, with it's blending punctuating your main course in a fair way.

Perhaps it is unfair to judge St. Amand French Country Ale by comparing it to other similarly packaged Belgian beers, but that's the shelf it's found on. It's cheaper, and for a reason. Perhaps that's why the other 1,980 farms in northern France now produce something else.

Beer Tasting Scorecard
St. Amand French Country Ale
Attribute Score
Head 2
Color 4
Taste 3
Flavor 2
Effect 3
Overall Score 2.8

For more information on St. Amand French Country Ale, visit the website of the brewer at

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