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Ce qui se cache derrière les Cream Ales

La définition de cream ale est sans doute l’une des plus vague à travers tous les styles et types de bières que je connaisse. Selon la croyance populaire, la bière de type cream ale est souvent associée à une bière peu gazéfiée, souvent une stout, possédant une mousse bien dense. Sans aucun doute, c’est la faute à la fameuse bière irlandaise Guiness, commercialisée depuis le 18e siècle. Néanmoins, le terme est davantage associé à une façon de conditionner la bière plutôt qu’à un style bien précis. Pourtant, selon le Beer Judge Certification Program, la cream ale est un type de bière américain qui existe depuis les années 1800, ayant survécu à la prohibition. Elle possède généralement une teinte de très pâle à dorée, une carbonatation de moyenne à élevé et une apparence presque translucide. Elle se distingue par ses arômes de maïs et sa faible amertume, la rendant plutôt facile à boire! La cream ale est en quelque sorte une version ale des lagers américains traditionnels.

Nous connaissons maintenant la définition plus juste de cream ale, mais l’élément qui confère la texture crémeuse à la bière demeure toujours un mystère… L’azote, voilà la réponse. C’est la concentration plus élevée d’azote dans la bière qui lui procure ses fines bulles. De plus, l’utilisation d’un robinet de type creamer permet de fragmenter les bulles de CO2 en micro-bulles et c’est de cette façon que la texture de la bière est littérallement transformée. Donc, à peu près n’importe quelle bière peut être conditionnée de cette façon, pas seulement les stouts.

Or, ce qu’il faut retenir, c’est que l’appellation cream ale fait référence à un style de bière américain plutôt qu’à une méthode de conditionnement. Malgré tout, dans le jargon populaire, je crois que cream ale demeure un bon qualificatif pour décrire ces merveilleuses bières crémeuses qui ravissent nos papilles. Sur ce, je termine sur un vidéo de notre White Kraken, version cream ale!


Alexandre Beaulieu-Simon
Bièrologue, Brasserie Artisanale La Korrigane

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