Overall Caracole was our favourite ‘brasserie’ (brewery) on our trip – every one of their beers got our top star rating, amazing when we saw that they were produced on wood-fired ovens!
The Caracole Brewery is located near Dinant in the province of Namur. The people of Namur are branded as being slow moving, and hence known as ‘caracoles’ (snails), the name of the brewery. The brasserie is only open for tours on Saturdays, 2:00 to 7:00 – just when we happened to arrive. Talk about luck!
Despite the fact that the process requires some very fine-tuned temperature controls, all the brewing is done in those big kettles on top of wood-fired ovens!
Our host/tour guide demonstrates how to drink a Belgian beer while the rest of us look on in wonder!
Peering into one of the little workrooms of the Caracole Brewery.
The tasting room at the Caracole Brewery.
Our review of les bieres de Brasserie Caracole
In general they are all smooth, all clean.
***Troublette, blanche (white) 5.5%: this is not a wheat beer. Although not particularly distinctive it had a nice, clean flavour, and we pronounced it a perfect summer beer. Unfortunately it was cold and rainy outside. This beer would certainly have gotten more stars if the weather had been more summer-like.
****Saxo, blonde 7.5%: an explosion of flavour as it enters the mouth, bubbles smartly down the throat; lovely although short aftertaste. NOTE: Al tried the ‘bio Saxo’ and really liked it, even better than the regular Saxo. I found it a tad sour and preferred the regular.
****Caracole, ambreé 7.5%: very smooth with a hint of sweetness near the end.
****Nostradamus, brun 9.5%: although I am not particularly fond of bruns this is one of the nicest I’ve had, not too sweet, caramel notes, lingering edge. Three years later I added a note about the powerful molasses bouquet, although this carries on through to the flavour.
They also had some limited edition brews with unusual flavourings. We bought a bottle of Forestinne Nordika, a ‘Christmas’ beer with a whisper of anise, YUMMY! As we were leaving we spotted a pile of wood destined for those amazing wood-fired ovens.
And a good time was had by all!
Caracole beers are mainly available in the States, Quebec and Belgium (we’ve found some at home in Canada too!!!)
*We thought we’d won the lottery when the tourist office handed us this Belgian Beer Route map, but then I found it on the web at: http://www.belgianbeerroutes.com/en/home/
This is part of our trip around Belgium, roughly following the Beer Route.