Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A study in blandness

While many European beers are available in France, I felt a solid presence of Belgian beers everywhere in the country. I must confess that I have not tasted that many beers from Belgium, so my trip to France was also a travel into Belgian beers.

Most of my days in France were spent in Provence. The weather was hot, the sun was shining and the soil on the French countryside was rather dry. My throat was also dry, so when I went walking in the village of Barjols, I needed to have a beer. There are several taprooms in Barjols, and I decided to sit down at the Bar Le Sporting. This is a sports bar with various beers on the menu - both from tap and bottles.

I settled down by the bar and ordered a half litre of Jupiler, the most common lager beer in Belgium. The beer was a pale lager with a lot of fizzyness and a small head. The head dissolved rather fast, and there was none while I had my first sip. I was very thirsty and did not know what to expect from the Jupiler beer. That was a fine thing, because this was the most tasteless beer I have ever had. It was so bland that I felt I was nearly drinking water.

Fast forward five days, and I am in another village in Provence. This time I am seated in Aups outdoors at the Grand Cafe Du Cours. I am in the mood for a beer, and I see that people around me drink Jupiler. OK, I will try it again. Perhaps my palate was off course in Barjols or there was something wrong with the beer?

The server brings me my Jupiler, and it is time to taste the Belgian beer again. It has a smaller head this time around, but in every other way it is the same bland beer in Aups as in Barjols. In a way that was a disappointment. I will not say no if somebody offers me Jupiler, but I will not buy it myself. Been there, done that!

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