Oh, to be home again! After a spending 4 weeks messing around with the various "other" types of football, it's time to get back to the bone-crushing, trench-warfare that is Big Ten Football (Michigan-IU excepted; that will feature all the ground-based offense of the Battle of Britain). We'll keep it short and sweet this week...but first, arguably the most important artist to have come from Big Ten territory will attempt to cure us of our homesickness:
See, Seantrel Henderson was just following Bob's advice: if you have talent LEAVE MINNESOTA!
First of all, let's just get the inevitable bitching out of the way. "A French style country beer?!?" Our response; Lafayette, Detroit, Joliet, Fon du Lac, LaPorte, LaSalle, Terre Haute, Marquette...Notre Dame...you picking up what we're puttin' down? Like it or not, the Great Lakes were first explored and settled by the French. It's in our blood (figuratively at least) so let's not pretend otherwise.
The beer itself is an auburn-hued, slightly roasty brew with more than enough caramel body to appeal to lovers of dark lagers (hey you Oktoberfest-heads) and full-flavored ales alike. The mild stone-fruit underpinnings are neutralized by a dry but controlled hop finish. This is truly one of those beers that is easy to drink for hours on end without it wearing out its welcome (or what we in the biz call "sessionable").
Despite its origins, the brew really is a perfect representative of what the Big Ten is about; Simple, straight-forward and timeless. Plus, it's old. While there are those that have tried to label this as a classic "Bière de Garde" (the quintessential French beer), this is really a throw-back to a much older, rustic style found in very few places other than traditional farm settings from Normandy to Flanders. Jim and Jason Ebel (they of Two Brothers Brewing Co.) spent time in that part of France during their college years and fell in love with the deep flavors of this ruddy, workmanlike beer. It has since become the beer on which they've built their (growing) reputation.
Extend arm...good...now touch nose...(whispers) Father Marquette have too much Domaine DuPage again.
Yet another reason the beer is so great for opening weekend is that it's available in all but one Big Ten state (sorry, fellow Hawkeyes...soon?) So welcome back home, dear readers. Go forth and drink!