Back in the spring, we quietly began work on a project with Peter Agostinelli, Executive Chef at Bedford Village Inn. I say “quietly” simply because we weren’t sure where this would go, or if it would be a success. The idea was to combine the culinary expertise of an award-winning kitchen with the art & science of beer design into a single product; an ale unlike anything tasted before.
After a few collaborative sessions, and several experimental batches, we found what we were looking for: La Mére Marianne. The first kegs will be tapped on Friday, October 30th.
The final design brings malts and hops together with fresh, locally harvested apples, brown butter, sage, nutmeg, molasses, brown sugar and thensome prepared in BVI's kitchen. What results is a fragrant, smooth, creamy and savory ale that is well-balanced on all fronts, and sits at a sessionable 5% ABV. As you would expect, she pairs beautifully with a wide range of meals.
At the conclusion of our first meeting with BVI’s leadership, I asked them to name their favorite book. Following confused looks, they cited Auguste Escoffier’s "Le Guide Culinare" (or "A Guide to Modern Cookery") of 1903. Much more than just another cookbook, this work redefined the restaurant world, standardizing and streamlining kitchen practices; it is still used today in culinary schools to train the next generation of chefs. Peter explained this book laid the foundation for the robust and diverse restaurant industry we now enjoy.
Within that book is a culinary style centered around cooked apples, brown butter & chef-specified seasoning which can be used in many dishes: "a la Mere Marianne." Escoffier, a proud native of France, chose to name the dish for his country’s Marianne; the female symbol created by the people to represent their cause during the French Revolution. She is the personification of reason, liberty, equality and fraternity - the antithesis of tyranny and oppression - and her image lives on to modern day. Strong, noble and determined, she embodies what it means to be Able.
This recipe inspired both the design of the ale, as well as its name. Freedom is a beautiful thing; it fosters creativity, collaboration, growth and progress, all of which are embodied in this beer’s journey. Therefore, the mother of free France, Marianne, is a proper symbol to represent our combined work.
One batch - and one batch only - of La Mére Marianne has been produced; she is sure to go quickly. With that, we give our thanks to the fine people at BVI for the opportunity. We all look forward sharing this endeavor with you. Cheers.