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La bière, au-delà des couleurs

Pour une grande majorité de néophytes, la couleur de la bière est un outil de référence pour choisir la bière que l’on veut savourer. J’entends régulièrement des trucs du genre : « as-tu une blanche? » ou « j’vais t’prendre une rousse ». Ne soyez pas inquiet, ce phénomène est totalement normal, puisque les grandes brasseries nous ont conditionné ainsi. Néanmoins, le milieu brassicole a grandement évolué dans les dernières années, et choisir une bière par sa couleur est désormais un peu vieux jeu! L’article suivant vous aidera sans doute à mieux comprendre la relation entre la couleur et le style de la bière dont vous avez envie.

D’abord, la couleur de la bière est déterminée par la céréale (le grain) qui est utilisée dans la recette. Effectivement, un grain plus pâle résultera en une bière plus pâle et un grain plus foncé résultera en une bière plus foncé. Simple vous me direz? Oui, mais encore. C’est le niveau de torréfaction du grain qui détermine la couleur, et par le fait même, les saveurs. Comme il existe une multitude de variétés de céréales avec lesquelles on peut brasser, la palette de saveurs est pratiquement infinie. Par-dessus cela s’ajoute les aromates. Le houblon, par exemple, aromate par excellence actuellement, peut modifier complètement le profil des saveurs d’une bière. Ceci étant dit, une bière de couleur blonde brassée avec des céréales ayant des saveurs douces et subtiles peut changer considérablement si on y ajoute certains types de houblons. Or, une pale ale américaine et une Pilsner, pour en faire l’image, sont deux styles de bières bien distinct qui possèdent une teinte assez proche l’une de l’autre. La pale ale américaine dégage généralement des arômes de houblons assez puissants, parfois d’agrumes, parfois de conifères, etc. La Pilsner, quant à elle, est une bière portant sur le côté croquant de la céréale et est relativement douce, « pintable », comme on dit dans le jargon. Certes, les dégustateurs plus expérimentés feront sans doute la différence visuellement, mais pour le commun des mortels, ce n’est pas toujours évident. S’ajoute à cela une variété infinie d’épices, de fruits, et d’autres ingrédients pouvant entrer dans la composition d’une bière pour lui donner son caractère distinctif. Ajouter des grains de café dans une stout, ou encore du thé du labrador dans une hefeweizen, changera probablement l’idée que vous avez d’une noire ou d’une blanche.

Voilà pourquoi la couleur ne fixe en aucun cas le goût de la bière. Lors de votre prochaine visite dans une microbrasserie, avant de commander une blonde ou une rousse, prenez le temps de vous faire expliquez ces nuances, et n’hésitez pas à goûter avant de faire votre choix! Après tout, c’est en goûtant que l’on découvre! Santé!

Alexandre Beaulieu-Simon
Bièrologue, Brasserie Artisanale La Korrigane

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