I've always been a huge fan of Brasserie Fantôme
. Their house yeast strain is amazing, and all their beers are artisanal, rustic and mysterious. But I've only ever had their more popular offerings (which isn't saying much, because very few places have even heard of them, much less carry anything from them) such as the summer, fall, winter, spring, Saison and Noel...even once had 'Pissenlit', which means "Pee in Bed", which was made with Dandelions. So about a year and a half ago, when I was still working at the beer/wine shop here in town, our distributor who carries Fantome said that they got a shipment of weird Fantome stuff that didn't have label approval and thus could not be sold to the public. So of course, me and some friends bought it all. We all got 2 of each---Dark White, which we swore has Mary J in it...the summer (Ete)...one with cocoa and chili peppers...and Beer Circus. Beer circus is odd stuff, and we have no idea what exactly it's supposed to be...we think it might've been brewed specially for a British "Beer Circus" event...but it's Fantome, and it's awesome. Just look at the label! I drank my 2nd bottle the other night:
Fantome Beer CircusPour/Aesthetic:
Very forceful hiss. I went to get my glass, and when I returned, a touch of light foam was starting to snake from the lip. This stuff is bottle-conditioned, and after aging for a couple years, I guess it's drying out. The pour was nice, very carbonated, but the head was pretty and airy/light. The color of the beer is a murky reddish-brown. Aroma:
There's a touch of oxidation from the aging, but it's very subtle and the beer is still very much alive. There's much less acidity than the first bottle had last year. Fruit, toffee, caramel and those wonderful, indescribable Fantome yeast aromas dominate.
Again, you can really feel the age on this one. It's dried out considerably. The fruit and toffee are present on the mouth, and the carbonation is pleasantly high, making an otherwise murky beer quite refreshing. The yeast shines again...there's a distinct sour note that is what their yeast is all about, and I love it.
Proximity to Style:
ha. What style? BA says it's a Saison, but Fantome makes a Saison, and this isn't it. This is much darker and fruitier than Saison should be. Overall Impression:
Not the best Fantome I've had, but I'm impressed by how well this stuff ages. I'd take more, but they only made one batch. This stuff is mystical, it has this lightness, this amazing touch of electricity that makes the hair on your neck stand up and sends chills down your spine. If I weren't such a skeptic, I'd probably believe in the Fantome ghost. If you haven't had Fantome before, SEEK IT OUT. One of my favorite Belgian breweries of all time.