Brasserie Fantome is a small, Belgian brewery from the Walloon province of Luxemburg in Southeast Belgium. They are most famous for their Fantome which is a golden/Saison-style ale which is particularly well reviewed. I have yet to try it. Fantome is a pretty rare find in the US and especially this far west. You may have more luck on the east coast where their importer, Shelton Brothers, is located.
The Brise-BonBons! is a Saison-style beer that was brewed to be “too bitter.” The name literally translates to “Ball Breaker,” as in this beer is a real ball breaker. It’s hard to tell where this beer falls in the Fantome line (their webpage doesn’t translate via Google Translate). I’m not sure if it’s a seasonal release, a limited release, or a full time product. It’s certainly interesting, that’s for sure.
Appearance: Hazy, “dirty” blonde, off-white head with good retention.
Aroma: Spicy hops, earthy funk, touches of alcohol, chemical funkiness, straw, pungent hops.
Taste: Bitter, touches of solvent, Brett funk, round and silky carbonation that’s only mildly assertive. Slight oily mouthfeel.
Overall Impression: I don’t recommend this beer for the faint of heart. It’s a giant funk bomb. The bitterness is nothing like an American IPA. If you’re an IPA drinker thinking this is a Belgian attempt at an IPA, you’ll be very unhappy. The huge load of European hops help add to the general funk and weirdness of this beer. It’s bitter with a dry hoppy finish. There seems to be a strong “wild” yeast presence in this beer. If you like really funky beers, this is certainly one you’ll enjoy chewing on for an evening. I enjoyed this beer. Again, it’s not for everyone, that’s for sure. If you want to truly experience a FUNKY beer and think about it for a few hours, you’ll get that and more by drinking this one.
Availability: Limited distribution, if your favorite beer store carries Shelton Brother products, ask them if Fantome is available to them.