Deep in the heart of southern Belgium lies the last wood-fired brewery. Brasserie Caracole, founded in the 18th century, is still brewing their beer the old way. While the rest of the world has switched to more reliable heat sources to heat their kettles. Direct wood firing is process that is hard to control and can provide spotty heat. When used well, it can be used to add some extra caramelization during the brewing process that can add to complexity, but it’s hard to control the level of heat applied, and well controlled heat is key for getting proper extraction.
While the wood-fired process has been relegated to the brewery history files, Caracole, however, is a living brewery brewing amazing beer as they have for centuries. Brasserie Caracole is also one of the breweries I’ll be visiting on my upcoming trip to Belgium! I’m also excited to visit the nearby and picturesque village of Dinant which is home to the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax. And while he couldn’t know the horror he’d subject the world to with Kenny G, he also helped bring us Charles Parker and John Coltrane. And this beer…
Saxo is Caracole’s blond ale and is named after local historical celebrity, Adolphe Sax.
Appearance: Light gold, off-white head, ok retention.
Aroma: Bubble gum, fruity, mango, cotton candy, floral notes.
Taste: Bubble gum, mango, touch of pepper in the finish.
Overall Impression: Saxo has an excellent, creamy mouthfeel that followed up with a medium finish. This beer is all about the yeast character. The esters and phenols at work are exceptionally interesting, flavorful, and unique. And super tasty!
Availability: Nationally at better beer stores where D&V International beers are sold. Basically, if you St. Bernardus beers, they should be able to get Caracole beers.
You can follow my adventures on: