09 April 2006

Le Seize! M'weh weh!

So, it's been some time since the last beer post, but worry not, I am back with another quality brew for you to sample. Now... if this review is cut short, well... it's because of this ongoing plague I have received. This is the third solid night where nausea and an extreme case of mal-indigestion wages war upon chez Murphy. So, without further pause... let me mention a wonderful amber concoction that I enjoyed on the Paris trip. Readers... meet 1664!

I know what you are thinking.... Frenchies? Making beer? What? But to tell you the honest truth, the "seize" (16, short for it's real name Kronenbourg 1664) was a mighty fine thirst quencher! And as always, my motto is "when in Rome, drink the beer, because the junk in wine gives you mean hangovers."

"Garcon! Apportez-moi un demi de seize, s'il vous plaît!" This line comes in damn handy.Occasionally they'll look at you again... just say "un demi... weh weh!" So after doing a bit of research (because the intestines are starting to kick), here are some fun facts about 1664.

1664 is no number plucked out of obscurity, but the actual date on which Kronenbourg came into being. It all began one day in the now famous year of 1664, when young Jérôme Hatt proudly filled a brand new barrel with his first official brew. Jérôme had just been awarded the diploma of brewer-cooper, which meant he could henceforth brew and sell his own beer. He set up his brewery right in the centre of Strasbourg, at the Brasserie du Canon, a few steps away from the cathedral. Little could he imagine what the future would hold. In 1850, business was flourishing, but the brewery, which now belonged to Jérôme's descendant, Frédéric-Guillaume, often found itself flooded out by the overspill from the river Ill. The only solution was to up and away to nearby Cronenbourg, above the flood levels. By 1857, the brewery was helping assuage the thirst of Parisians some 500 kilometres away, packing whole trains full of barrels of Hatt beer. this was the beginning of the brewery's domination of the French domestic market. In 1922, the Brasserie du Tigre became part of the Hatt brewery and Brasserie Hatt became Alsace's leading brewer with the famous "Tigre Bock" beer. In 1947, a new Jérôme Hatt took over the reins at the brewery and decided to rename Tigre Bock as Kronenbourg.Here's a few more fun facts:

Kronenbourg has long been known for its initiatives. In 1947 it was the first brewery to launch the 33cl bottle, followed by the metal can in 1953 and the first pack in 1963. Kronenbourg led the way in advertising and became the leading French beer-maker both in terms of sales and brand recognition. In 1952, the famous special beer, 1664, was launched to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's coronation. In 1959, Kronenbourg moved into the European markets, primarily the former West Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Italy. The company prospered and the Cronenbourg brewery could no longer keep up with demand. A new, ultra-modern brewery, the largest ever built up till then, was opened in Obernai in 1969.

1664 offers a dense and creamy froth, small bubbles, and a golden tempting color. Ok, the stomach is starting to churn. All in all, it has a fine lasting taste of bitterness and a flowery hop aroma with a touch of malt light tannins. Oh and by the way... brasseries is one of those fancy terms for a brewery. Holy canole... I have to run.... but if you see le Seize on the shelves, buy it and yell out "cul sec" for me! I'll yell "j'ai le cul rouge" back. : (

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