Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday's Favorite French Things


Back on the booze theme again.
Classed as a bitters, and containing extracts of gentiane (see my entry on Suze) quinine and orange bark, Picon was invented in 1873 by Gaétan Picon.
According to the French Wiki entry:
Born in 1809, he was apprenticed in distileries in Aix-en-Provence, Toulon et Marseille. In 1837, While serving in Algeria with the French army, he invented Picon.
Gaétan Picon created his first distillery to produce the African bitters in an Algerian village, he then followed with a number of others: Constantine, Bône and Algiers. In 1872, he returned to France, he created his first factory at Marseille. From this time on, the bitters were named Picon.
Since 1995, Picon has diversified and there are now 2 different types: The original, called Picon bière and Picon club, for mixing with white wine.
Originally at 21°, since 1989 it has been produced at 18° provoking the ire of its devoted fans.
In 2003, 70% of sales were in the North and East of France. Total production for that year was 4 million bottles.

I was introduced to Picon beer at our café when, getting bored of lager I asked Michel for something different. He served me a Picon beer, and the caramel flavours reminded me of English winter ales. It immediately made the blond lager more complex and refreshing.

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At 8:09 pm, Blogger aims said...

Diagnosed as a celiac in 1992 - I miss beer - alot! You made me drool...sigh

At 12:08 pm, Anonymous Your Picky Brother said...

Why do you spell Favourite the American way?

At 1:15 pm, Blogger Stew said...

Ask yourself rather 'How would google spell "favourite"?'

At 2:40 pm, Blogger MichaelBains said...

People often ask me why I spell the wrong way. I tell 'em cuz it's one of my favourite things t'do!

Now, can I get a whiskey with that?

At 11:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an original bottle of amer picon, unopened with the stamp. On the bottom of the bottle it has a perforation that says B 03 54. The date on the bottle says 1837 twice, and it is signed in gold right in the middle of the description of what the bottle is used for. I do not want to open it and ruin the beauty of the bottle. (besides it is 78 proof or 87 proof which ever it was origionally made with) and don't want to be knocked on my rear,,lol
united states

At 4:28 am, Blogger Amy said...

i was introduced to Picon beer when studying in Strasbourg France this past July and soooo got hooked on it. I would love to know where in the USA that carries it or can I have my local beer pub order it and if so where or whom would they order it from. I really love and miss the people there in Strasbourg, I have never felt so welcome and safe as I did that month of this past July.

Amy Carter

At 7:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was introduced to picon biere around 8 years ago at a French restaurant outside of Wash, D.C. I went there annually for around 5 years and had picon biere each time. I love it, but can not find it in the states, despite exhaustively searching on many different occassions. I recently went to France for vacation and bought 2 bottles back. I'm almost finished. If anyone knows how to get this in the states, please post it.

BTW, I have found Stella Artois or Fisher beer the best for mixing with Amer Picon. If anyone has tried any other beers they think work well, please advise. I tried it with a light beer - didn't work!!!


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