March Beer

One swallow may not make a summer, but, in Arras, March beer has heralded spring since 1394.
Winter's end was once celebrated with great festivities and the launch of the year's best cellar-matured beer in early March. Processions accompanied the barrels through the town to taverns that were decorated with wreathes of juniper.
A limited amount of this low alcohol, amber ale is specially brewed in early winter.
It is made from several varieties of spring barley, harvested between 14th July and 15th August, and aromatic hops. Spring is thus introduced by the subtle flavours of this amber ale.

A Gourmet's notebook