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Lucy Saunders
4230 N. Oakland #178
Shorewood WI
53211 USA
@ site name

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Sandy D'Amato
Coquette Cafe, Milwaukee

Maybe it's the curling coiffure or the curved lips, but the face that smiles up from the menu of Coquette Cafe in Milwaukee befits the name.

And chef-owner Sandy D'Amato, (right), and local brewer Russ Klisch, (pictured below on the left), dreamed up the concoction known as Rendezvous Ale, just for Coquette.

Sure, Milwaukee had its share of house beers, mass-market lagers lurking under another label, another name. But Coquette needed a beer that was more than a contract brew - it was a style rendered just for the restaurant, an American's version of a French ale suited to a true brasserie.

French farmers in northwest France, always made their own strong summer ales, quenching and refreshing, but robust enough to match the full-bodied fare of a brasserie. Thus, bieres de garde were brewed for the first harvest, and made strong enough to continue to ferment for several months - even through summer heat. Some French biere de garde such as Jenlain ales are extremely potent, more than 6 percent ABV.

Weighing in at a more decorous 5.8 percent ABV, the Rendezvous Ale is a hybrid of malty richness and enough hops acidity (Brewer's Gold, Tradition) to cut through the strong flavors of roasted lapin au moutarde, or a burly beef steak frites.

Russ Klisch and Sandy D'Amato enjoyed their research, tasting a wide range of beer styles and brands. "I wanted to create a beer with a lively malt character to accent our food," says D'Amato, adding, "the biere du garde style was just a perfect fit for the brasserie."

Coquette Café, 316 N. Milwaukee St., Milwaukee, WI (414) 291-2655

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