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Jenlain Beer from France

Editor’s note: We’re republishing this review from March 2003 because the old copy still gets so much reader traffic.

Long ago, I tried a French beer. It was a disappointment. I recall asking someone else to taste it. He too thought it was awful. Our attitude, perhaps unfairly, quickly became, “The French ought to stick to wine and cheese.”

The other night I decided to try Jenlain. In New York City, Jenlain is available it in corked champagne bottles for $4 to 5. The label boasted that it was finely crafted, used excellent materials, and so forth. I was hopeful. I poured it and it was deep copper colored with a fat head. It looked beautiful in a burgundy glass. I sipped it- my face bunched up. What the hell? The beer itself wasn’t spoiled or cooked. It just was thin and had a rank flavor that overwhelmed what few pleasant notes there were. Maybe my taster was off. I asked a friend with a near bottomless belly for beer to take a sip. One was enough. We dumped the bottle. (Rating *1/2)