Christmas Classics | Brasserie Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux
By far, my favorite holiday beer is Brasserie Dupont’s Avec Les Bons Voeux (translated as “with good wishes”). It’s made year-round, but only brought to the United States during winter. The beer began as a treat to brewery visitors during the holidays and, as it only makes its way to the United States around the holidays, it remains a special treat for us.
For numerous reasons, this beer is an excellent choice for winter celebrations. For starters, no matter how many times I have opened a cork and caged beer, it always feels like a special event. Beyond the spectacle, the beer itself excels as an aperitif or a beverage to make a toast. It has the familiar effervescence and yeast profile of Saison Dupont but is supported by more malt and significantly more alcohol (9.5%ABV versus 6.5%). It’s a potent beer that is not as quaffable in warmer weather.
The stronger ale comprises seven percent of the brewery’s annual output, compared to Saison Dupont at 28%. Like Saison Dupont, Avec Les Bons Voeux is now available in the U.S. in brown bottles, giving a little more resistance to skunky off-flavors than the green bottles that the brewery distributes in Europe (the label differs as well).
The brewery is somewhat secretive about the recipe, noting it is essentially the same as Saison Dupont, but ramped up. You will find the familiar robust and rocky head, earthy/peppery aroma and excellent lacing as you do with the Saison Dupont. Like so many other beers I highly regard, this beer presents a touch of sweetness up front but finishes dry.
The strong carbonation clears the palate, perfect for a variety of cheeses. I enjoy it most with aged ones like Gouda, Parmigiano Reggiano and Cheddar. It also pairs well with many main courses, especially caramelized proteins with black pepper. If anyone is having anguilles à l’escavêche this holiday season, it goes well with this beer, according to the brewery. They also note it does well with other things you may not have to Google like paté and Brasserie Dupont’s cheese, Carré à la Moinette.
In my family, we have mussels in a white wine, fennel and Dijon mustard sauce and pierogis with mushrooms and sauerkraut on Christmas Eve; the beer works well with all, especially the mussels. You might ask, “Why not use the beer in the mussels?” I would not disagree that it is a good idea, but my father-in-law is responsible for dinner and I’m not going to argue with him.
Christmas brunch largely consists of my mom’s challah bread French toast and my sister-in-law’s hashbrown casserole. We typically have mimosas with this meal, but Avec Les Bons Voeux might work, especially with the hash.
For New Year’s Eve this year, I’m planning on making scallops in a white wine sauce with chopped pancetta and capers. Again, the beer could work in the sauce here. I’m also making a shaved fennel salad with green olives and provolone (recipe courtesy of Café Altro Paradiso via Bon Appétit). Avec Les Bons Voeux will be a grand slam match for this meal. Happy Holidays!
Feature image: Total Beverage Solution.