Nouvelle-France Messagère Red Ale

Reviewed by on June 17, 2014 in Gluten-Free Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Microbrasserie Nouvelle-France

  • Origin: Saint-Alexis-des-Monts, QC, CA

  • Rated On: June 16, 2014

  • Best Before: Feb 25, 2015

  • ABV: 5.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: American Amber Ale

  • Rating: POOR

The Review

The Nouvelle-France microbrewery in Quebec also has a red ale in its gluten-free lineup, made with the same ingredients as the flagship golden ale, but with some millet added.  Some old ship’s maidenhead imagery is prominent on the label, where rousse = redhead, conflating the meaning of the name just a tad.

This 341ml bottle pours a clear, medium bright reddish amber hue, with two fingers of thinly foamy, and mostly fizzy off-white head, which doesn’t stick around to make introductions, and leaves a bit of tacky snow rime lace around the glass.

It smells of sweet, stale vegetal grain, fruity rice pudding, weak brown sugar syrup, and faint generic earthy hops. The taste is semi-sweet, in an off-world sort of way, rice grain, an earthy, musty edginess that must be the buckwheat – some dryness extracted from the same – metallic medicinal notes, sour overripe dark orchard fruit, and bland weedy, leafy, well, hops, I gather. The carbonation is on the low side, just sort of moping about, the body a pithy medium-light weight, and hardly what one might deem smooth. It finishes off-dry, that notion coming from a still weird place – vegetal, musty, fruity, and earthy – and altogether none too appealing.

A little while ago, while at a friend’s party, said friend and I had just cracked a bottle of barleywine to share, when his other friend, within earshot, asked if he could at least have a whiff of the pour. This friend is celiac, and a drinker of the beer I am currently slogging my way through. I almost cracked up, in the tear-shedding sense, at the idea – that just adds to the all around unsettling feeling I get around La Messagère Rousse.

Brady White

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