Beer Review: Kronenbourg 1664

22 Oct

If you’ve taken a look at my ‘biography page’ on the top of this site, you surely have seen that my favorite beer listed is Kronenbourg 1664.  That’s the beer that I’ll be reviewing tonight.  Actually, I only tasted it for the first time about ten days ago, but it is so good that it immediately became my favorite beer.  I was at Anthony Bourdain’s restaurant, Brasserie Les Halles, when I tried it for the first time based of a recommendation from my friend Doug.  That was a Wednesday.  Friday I went and bought a 6-pack to try at home.  My goodness is that a great beer!

The Kronenbourg Brewery is located in Cronenbourg, a town in Alsace, France, which is the fourth-smallest of the 26 regions of France.  It wasn’t started there, however.  From its inception in 1664 through to 1850, the brewery was located in Place de Corbeau, a town just miles away from Cronenbourg.  They moved because of the desire to be on higher terrain and are now owned by the conglomerate Carlsberg.

Kronenbourg 1664 is the most popular and best-selling beer in France.  It has a 40% market share!  I guess I’m not the only one who loves it.

Variety: Pale Lager (similar to Heineken, Budweiser, Coors, etc.)

Color: Rich amber; deep gold

Nose: Grapefruit!

Palette: A tinge of bitter; not very sweet; citrus; grapefruit

ABV: 5.5%

Hops: Strisselspalt, which are hops native to Alsace and known as a ‘Noble Hop’ – one of the four hop varieties that are low in bitterness and high in aromas

Finish: Slow and smooth

When I read about the Strisselspalt hops I knew immediately that that was the reason I loved the beer so much.  I’m not a fan of overly-bitter beers, and so the fact that Kronenbourg 1664 has a beautiful bouquet (aroma) and a citrus taste without having that bitterness is what sealed it for me.

Here is the other thing that has sold this beer for me and makes it my favorite: the finish is slow and smooth.  Actually, the Kronenbourg 1664 brand has been recently built around the concept of slow: “Slow Beer, Slow Taste,” and it couldn’t be closer to the truth.  While they market it by saying that it is brewed in the best town in France, etc. etc., they’re absolutely right that the malt is done slowly so as to not give the beer a crisp taste, but actually gives it a slow, drawn out flavor.  When I sip the beer, the flavor lasts on my lips for minutes after I am done.  I don’t want to call it creamy, because it is not, but imagine that feeling as opposed to a quick, crisp finish.  Delightful!

Fun Fact: Marie Tussaud was born and raised in the town where Kronenbourg was originally brewed.  She must have at least once sipped a Kronenbourg 1664 at the actual brewery, which is pretty cool because she now has 9 hugely popular museums named after her throughout the world.

Keys To Tasting: First, drink this beer in a wine glass.  Yes, a wine glass.  If you can, make it a Bordeaux wine glass.  This beer is so beautifully aromatic that a Bordeaux wine glass is one of the only ways to drink it to capture its full scent.

Food Pairings: Anything light with a touch of creaminess would be great; perfect would be a thin-crust pizza

Kronenbourg Brewery, Alsace, France

My Favorite Beer, Kronenbourg 1664


One Response to “Beer Review: Kronenbourg 1664”

  1. Roe October 22, 2010 at 10:10 pm #

    If only you had posted this before our package store closed. Now I’ll need to wait until tomorrow to try Kronenbourg 1664. Good reason to order a pizza tomorrow.

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