Fischer La Belle Strasbourgeoise


Oct 4, 2001


The Bottom Line A European lager that is lightly hopped to create a light, easy to drink beer with less bitterness.

Fischer Labelle is the signature beer of the Fischer Biere d'Alsace brewing company, an Alsacian brewer that uses traditionl German brewing techniques to craft beers in a French style. That sounds confusing, I know. Fischer (also know as Pêcheur in France) is located in Schiltighem, France (near Strasbourg). The Alsace region in France was an area fought over for centuries. At one time, it belonged to Germany. After the French forces were defeated in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, this region in the Northeast of France (approx. 5,600 sq. miles) was ceded to the country of Germany at the Treaty of Frankfurt. After Germany's surrender in World War I, the land was returned to France by the Treaty of Versailles (1919).

Fischer was founded in 1821, so the brewery experienced a history of being in France, then Germany, and then France again. Today, Fischer is owned by the Dutch brewing giant, Heineken. In today's beer world, a brewer's past is becoming increasing less relevant as large brewers globalize their operations.


La Belle Strasbourgeoise
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In France, there are no beer purity laws like there are in Germany, and, therefore, French brewers are permitted to use adjuncts in there beer. Also, traditionally, French brewers use less hops and mature their beers for a shorter period of time than German brewers.

This green-bottled, bottom-fermented lager from France has been brewed since 1821 (180 years!). It pours with a deep gold color, moderate amounts of carbonation, and produces a large, foamy white-colored head. This is a fairly smooth, lightly hopped beer that would be fine to serve with most any kind of sandwich or light meal. I'd call it a fine lunch beer -- but beyond that, there is not much to say in its favor. All in all, a pretty average lager that finishes with an almost soapy flavor. Not a favorite beer of mine, but it was interesting to try.


Price and Availability
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Price: $2.95 for a 650 ml bottle (22 ounces). I purchased this beer at a small wine and beer store -- The Grape Press -- in Anaheim Hills, California. Imported by Fischer Beverages International of Waltham, Massachusetts.

Also available at the Wine Warehouse in Los Angeles. For other U.S. distributors, visit the Fischer website:

   http://www.fischerbeverages.com/distributors/california.html


Recommendations
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While I can admit that this beer has more character than Budweiser, Miller or Coors, there really is nothing exceptional about it that would warrant a strong recommendation. Personally, I prefer the Fischer Bitter, a 6.5% alcohol by volume lager that has more hop flavor.

Rating: 2½ stars.

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